If you follow jazz news, you've surely heard of Cyrille Aimée, the French-born chanteuse who took top honors at last year's inaugural Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and got third place at the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. But have you actually heard Aimée? Since 2007, she's released seven albums, including two with Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo, two with her Surreal Band, a live session at Smalls with Roy Hargrove, and a recent Japan-only platter of standards. A devout Djangophile, she also appeared last year on the Hot Club of Detroit's Junction. She's everywhere, yet finding her CDs remains far more difficult than it should be for one of the most dynamic postmillennial additions to the vocal-jazz ranks.
Which makes the already impressive Burstin' Out! that much more vital. These dozen tracks, recorded with the 35-year-old Chicago Jazz Orchestra, are invariably dazzling. You'll hear shades of Stacey Kent in Aimée and sense the youthful moxie of Nikki Yanofsky, all sweetened by her lingering French accent. Yet comparisons wrongly suggest derivation. Listen to Aimée meander through an indigo "A Night in Tunisia," bop across "Yardbird Suite," float atop Taylor Eigsti's haunting arrangement of "Easy Living" and navigate a freewheeling treatment of "Long as You're Living" and you'll recognize her as a sparkling, zestful original.