Jazz History Online is not in the business of fortune-telling, but it's always gratifying to hear young musicians who have mastered the jazz language and have the potential to either carry the old traditions into the future or blaze innovative trails. The three vocalists reviewed here are all currently in their late 20s or early 30s and have developed their styles and sounds to a very high degree. They are certainly not the only promising vocalists on the scene, but their latest albums are very impressive.
In the space of only a few years, Cyrille Aimée has risen from relative obscurity to being one of the most in-demand singers on the current jazz scene. Her light, flexible voice is comfortable in gypsy jazz groups, Brazilian duets (with Diego Figueiredo) and straight-ahead jazz combos. Her latest album with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, "Burstin' Out" (Origin), shows that she is also a very effective big band vocalist. Several of the tunes are part of Cyrille's normal repertoire, but have been re-configured for the CJO's expanded forces of brass, reeds and strings. For example, "September in the Rain" now includes an extended shout chorus for voice and horns, as well as an extended tag for Cyrille's adventurous scat singing and Eric Schneider's muscular tenor sax. On "Easy Living" she deftly maneuvers through a thickly scored Taylor Eigsti arrangement, and she delivers a letter-perfect rendition of Charlie Parker's original lyric for "Yardbird Suite." "Them There Eyes," adapted from an old Count Basie arrangement, is revitalized with an energetic reading from Cyrille and the band, and after an exhilarating series of solos, is capped with Cyrille's daring thematic variation (including a surprising modulation!) in the final chorus. And she can break your heart too, as demonstrated by her touching rendition of "I'm Through with Love." There's a wide range of arrangers on the album--some tracks credit as many as four different arrangers!--and the CJO plays this variety of music with great spirit and precision. Cyrille Aimée's talents go far beyond the reaches of this CD (her tender French chansons and her creative use of vocal looping are not to be missed), but this album offers substantial evidence of her mastery of swinging classic jazz.