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ROSE ELLIS

Like Songs Like Moons

ZenneZ Records (Self-produced)

 

 

  1. Satellite

  2. Rise With The Sunday

  3. You Light Up My Life

  4. He Needs Me

  5. That's All

  6. Early In The Morning

  7. Like Never Before

  8. Let Go

  9. I Wish I Could Have Skipped Today

  10. Don't Be Afraid

  11. Preacher Boy

    Rose Ellis - Vocals

    Glenn Zaleski – Piano, Rhodes

    Pablo Menares - Bass

    Ross Pederson - Drums

    Singer and songwriter Rose Ellis is based in New York City but comes from The Netherlands. This is her debut album and she has assembled a talented trio of musicians to support her for this impressive first outing. Glenn Zaleski, for instance, has performed with the likes of Ravi Coltrane, Lage Lund and Ari Hoenig. As well as being a gifted pianist and keyboard player, he is also an arranger and composer, and has featured on four albums as leader or co-leader. The Chilean Pablo Menares is known for his work with compatriots Melissa Aldana (tenor sax) and Claudia Acuña (vocalist). Ross Pederson, meanwhile, has played with Manhattan Transfer, singer Patti Austin and pianist Kenny Werner. Ellis herself came to New York on a scholarship and obtained a Master's degree with the Aaron Copland School, graduating in 2013. Although the influences she cites include several of the most significant women practitioners of jazz in former years, I hear in her warm and languid tones something of contemporaries like Norah Jones and Madeline Peyroux. Inevitably, too, comparison will be drawn with Fleurine, also from the Netherlands.

    Eight of the eleven tracks on the album are Ellis originals. Two of the others are among the most striking. The singer really nails That's All (a June Christy favourite, I recall) and there's also a bass solo of substance from Menares, ably backed by piano and drums. Ellis shines again on He Needs Me, recorded in times past by Peggy Lee and Nina Simone, among others. This atmospheric torch song is delivered with passion by Rose Ellis who emotes effectively. Among the most appealing of her own songs are Satellite, You Light Up My Life,Early In The Morning, Like Never Before, and I Wish I Could Have Skipped Today. All are marked by stylish delivery and lively accompaniment as well as a distinct swing. I enjoyed her unselfconscious and relaxed scat singing on Early In The Morning and Like Never Before, the latter number influenced by trumpet immortal Clifford Brown's solo on All The Things You Are. Preacher Boy is unusual, inasmuch as the lyrics are by the great Billie Holiday, one of seven she wrote or co-wrote but that she never recorded. I found it hard to classify.

    Rose Ellis is one to watch. Her voice has confidence, sensitivity and range. She shows promise as a songwriter and arranger, at her best on tracks such as I Wish I Could Have Skipped Today. What I would like, I guess, on her next album is a more even balance between original material and standards. That is a minor quibble. She obviously has a glowing future.

    James Poore




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