Alyssa Graham: America
Alyssa Graham (vocals)
Echo (Sunnyside 4103)
Romero Lubambo (guitar, vocals), Doug Weiss (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Douglas Graham (guitar), Sachi Pattituci (cello), Lawrence Dutton (viola), Elizabeth Lim-Dutton (viola), Laura Seaton (violin).
Composed by Paul Simon.
Recorded: New York, no date given (CD released in 2008)
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Alyssa Graham gives a standout performance on her debut CD, Echo. Like many of the more promising younger jazz vocalists on the scene, Graham adopts an earnest, forthright style of singing that is quite appealing. There are no dark shadows or hidden emotional creases here. She projects herself completely into the psychological space of Paul Simon's song, singing with total honesty and directness. 1960s-era "America" is suddenly transformed into a harsh modern landscape, although you might very well be counting gas-guzzling SUVs on the New Jersey turnpike these days. The band helps with a simmering arrangement and clever reharmonization. Gregoire Maret makes the most of his harmonica solo slot. But Graham is the star here. Okay, she's not a star yet. But just wait and see . . .
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
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