July 2006

Valerie Joyce - New York Blues
Chesky JD316
Format: CD
Released: 2006

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Carrie Landsgaard - Is This Desire?
MC Music MC1004
Format: CD
Released: 2004

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

Erin Boheme - What Love Is
Concord CCD-2286-2
Format: CD
Released: 2006

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

by Katherine Silkaitis

It seems that there will always be a plethora of young female jazz singers, all doing the standards to the best of their abilities. But very few do well enough to warrant attention. After all, how many times can young women sing "Fever" before it becomes trite and bland?

Valerie Joyce, Carrie Landsgaard and Erin Boheme do warrant attention. They are adept at reinterpreting classics, and in some cases, writing their own tunes. On her debut album, Joyce takes her turn at songs that include Rodgers and Hart’s "It Never Entered My Mind," Miles Davis’s "Blue in Green," Cooley and Davenport’s "Fever" (of course), and even a jazzed-up version of Tracy Chapman’s modern-rock hit "Baby Can I Hold You." Her album is slyly enticing, as she performs cabaret songs in a soft cabaret style.

If Joyce’s album is deep and sultry, Landsgaard’s is the opposite. While still well within the traditional jazz realm, her songs are swinging and lively, and her voice is energetic and captivating. From the strong opening, "You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to," to the co-penned title track, Landsgaard sings with passion, ably accompanied by a talented backing band. Given the emotional range and depth of her singing, it is not surprising that she is also an aspiring actress.

Erin Boheme rounds out the trio of discs with her classy What Love Is. She includes self-penned tunes, some classics, and -- ironically -- a Tracy Chapman tune ("Give Me One Reason"). Boheme’s vocals are clean and clear on her debut album, and her interpretation of Chapman’s pop tune is inventive, transposing effectively to the jazz genre. If there is one fault, it is that Boheme plays it too safe. On both her own tunes and the standards, she plays the role of high school choir soloist. Her performances are without fault, but there is hardly any real depth to what she sings (the heartfelt "Anything" a notable exception). But she’s quite young, and has great potential, so here’s to holding out that she will become more adventuresome on her sophomore album.