Kelsey Jillette: Medley Hot House / What Is This Thing Called Love?


Medley: Hot House / What Is This Thing Called Love?


Kelsey Jillette (vocals, shakers)


The Water Is Wide (CAP 1016)

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Kelsey Jillette (vocals, shakers),

Tom Abbott (baritone sax), Brad Whiteley (B-3 organ), Hiro Honma (guitar), Adam Pache (drums)


“Hot House” composed by Tadd Dameron. “What Is This Thing Called Love?” composed by Cole Porter


Recorded: New York, 2008


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Every time I hear a version of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," my eyes and ears return to the one-of-a-kind video clip of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie putting the tune through its paces. Though the "Hot House" heard here is a lifetime and galaxy away from beboppers Bird & Diz, it is born of the same spirit. Kelsey Jillette sings the melody vocalese-style above a throbbing bassline provided by organist Brad Whiteley and guitarist Hiro Honma. Soon, the lyrics from "What Is This Thing Called Love?" are coming from Jillette's lips. She owns some well-honed pipes and the emotive powers to use them effectively. The tune takes on a slight Latin feel even as the music becomes denser. Jillette eventually adds a touch of Latin scat herself. Interestingly, the arrangement catches a deep groove but is still somewhat at odds with itself. This tension is explored even as Jillette's voice stays above the fray. Absent her voice, this performance would still make a good jam-band number, given how talented these players are. Yet together, vocalist and musicians creatively transform historic material into an engaging modern mode. This is what playing the standards should be all about. You know, making the music your own. Such distinctive arrangements and performances help make jazz the timeless music it is.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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