Laika Fatien: Inchworm




Laika Fatien (vocals)


Look at Me Now (Body & Soul 2533)

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Laika Fatien (vocals),

David el Malek (tenor), Pierre de Bethman (piano), Alban Sautour (guitar), Jules Bikoko Bin’ Jami (bass), Dré Pallmaerts (drums)


Composed by Frank Loesser


Recorded: Paris, France, June & August, 2003


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Fatien was born in Paris and is of Ivory Coast, Moroccan, and Spanish Sephardic ancestry and heritage, but sings in only slightly accented, clear, and totally unaffected English. She has performed with the Claude Bolling Orchestra, and is both a stage and film actress. Her inspirations range from Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae to Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln, but she doesn't sound like any of them. While she can aggressively belt out a number like "The Best is Yet to Come," or sensitively and knowingly interpret Abbey Lincoln tunes, the inherent, undiluted, and distinctive beauty of her voice is best revealed in her stark rendition of "Inchworm" on her debut CD.

The popular Frank Loesser children's song was first performed by Danny Kaye in the 1952 film "Hans Christian Andersen," and has since been recorded by jazz artists such as John Coltrane and Patricia Barber. Fatien sings the main verses unaccompanied, allowing us to relish her flawless intonation and be charmed by her candid delivery. The group joins in for her second go-around before Malek's warmhearted, lyrically fluid tenor solo both sustains and affirms the mood Fatien has established so expertly. The saxophonist continues to play soft obbligatos behind Fatien during the reprise, until the vocalist once more goes it alone, with vivid expressiveness, in closing. The only regret is that the arithmetic addition table chorus was left unsung, perhaps in overdubbed counterpoint or along with Malek's solo.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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