As is sadly becoming too common a tale among jazz artists, Carrie Wicks recorded her debut album in early 2009, and then spent more than a year searching for a label willing to take a chance on an unproven talent. Fortunately, given the marvelousness of these 10 tracks and the immense artistic promise they suggest, the folks at Origin finally greenlighted its release.
A librarian by day, Wicks has been honoring her vocal craft for over a decade, and is welcome addition to the wellspring of top-drawer jazz singers from the Seattle area. Her distinctive voice suggests the feather-light charm of Kat Edmonson weighted by Dusty springfield cloudiness. She has a fondness for singing behind the beat, a trait that proves particularly effective throughout her beguilingly seductive "Comes Love," on an "Almost Blue" that superbly captures the hollow ache of Elvis Costello's lyric, and during a "Lilac Wine" that echoes the befogged beauty of Helen Merrill's classic reading. And with cunning assistance from pianist/arranger Bill Anschell, Wicks makes several intriguing stylistic choices, including the unexpected but delightful percolation of "Moonlight in Vermont" (paired with "No Moon At All") and an astute reinterpretation of "I'm Lost" that shifts the song from a tragic portrait to a lighthearted rendering of a capricious young lover trying to navigate a romantic labyrinth.