"Matter of Time" is an album of splendid arrangements of Jazz and Bossa Nova standards, very personal compositions of her own and an enchanting lyrical enhancement of a Pat Metheny piece. As before, her brother David Allen also contributes a track that is lovely and optimistic.
The album opens with Aimée's own composition of the title track. "Matter of Time" is introduced by Scott Ritchie's bass line that is soon joined by the brilliant Brazilian guitar virtuoso, Romero Lubambo. That duo creates a rich backdrop for Aimée's rich vocals.
The alternating delivery of pulse and flow vocalization over the constant tempo of the instruments is both intriguing and meaningful. The lyrics also provide a counterpoint of faith and fate. Aimée Allen knows how to open an album!
Another of her compositions follows in "Soul Cargo." The theme of travel is highlighted with the feeling of flight in the instrumental interpretations of François Moutin on bass, Toru Dodo on piano and Jacob Melchior on drums. Dodo and Melchior are well aware of Aimée's intentions and desires as thy were both on "Winters & Mays" and Dodo was on her debut album "Dream."
Indeed Aimée sings of love but her lyrics carry her far afield of typical maudlin sentimentalism. There is a note of loving solidarity with the frequent hint of solitude, as well. The melancholy-tinged wistfulness is carried by the music even more than the lyrics. It is an extraordinary balance that she manages to achieve throughout the whole album.
Romero Lubambo is again featured on Ivan Lins' "The Island." This is a moving duo of Aimée and Lubambo, vocals and guitar alone. Lubambo's elegant effortlessness is warm and sensual and Aimée takes advantage of the gentle movement. There is a lyrical rising and falling that is almost erotic, even without the meanings of the words themselves.
Moutin and Melchior's rhythm section open "Close Your Eyes." Melchior's brushes brushes and Moutin's high-end bass flights arecharming in themselves. The track is a total reinvention of the Bernice Petkere composition.
"New Day" is David Allen's lone contribution to his sister's album. There is a feeling of Joe Jackson's best days here and Toru Dodo carries the upbeat melody with subtle delight. Aimée's delivery is spot-on, as always, but there is a smooth energy here that is compelling and satisfying, at once.
Aimée's own "Sometimes You Just Know" is one of the real highlights in an album full of highlights. Lines such as "Don't interrupt things that cannot be changed are truly memorable but the payoff line is "What you're never told, sometimes you just know."
The instrumental trio add an emotional depth of their own that takes the mood deeper than what the lyrics alone intimate. There are ever-so-slight shifts that tug at the heart. This is a magnificent track. The aforementioned melancholy is perfectly represented here.
"Out of Nowhere" is Aimée's reshaping of the Johnny Green-Edward Heymen piece. It has never felt so good. Moutin's bass is riveting and Melchior is again at his supportive best. Moutin has an affinity for the high end of the bass and one begins to wonder if he will ever drop below. And then when he does... Captivating and rich. Melchior is so skilled in his gentle approach to rhythm that he is almost a vocalist's dream drummer. Dodo is a pianist of great color and texture, definitive and detailed, he deserves more credit than he often gets. Aimée knows exactly how to weave in and out of these brilliant players.
In a nod and a wink to her Paris sojourn, "Qu'est-ce qu'on est bien-ici" is a French-language duo with--once again--Romero Lubambo in the third of his four feautured tracks. Aimée's intonation of the French lines are enthralling. Her sweet delivery of "Au moins on part pour la mer" is delicious, especially in the coda. Breathlessly breathtaking.
Another fine inclusion on the album is "In the Name of Love" with music by François Moutin and lyrics by Aimée Allen and François Moutin. The bass lines are flowing and thrilling and Dodo's piano is right on it. Moutin's solo is another excursion into the upper ranges of the bass as Dodo's elegant lines walk steadily alongside.
Just reading the lyrics of "In the Name of Love" is like a reminiscence of the tales of Tristan and Isolde. Aimée's vocalizations are gorgeous. The song is beautifully constructed on all points.
Romero Lubambo reappears for his final duet with Aimée on "Corcovado." This Jobim piece is reverently held in Lubambo's hands and meaningfully interpreted by Aimée's approach. This one made me hit "replay" several times.
In one of the more surprising tracks on the album, Aimée adds her own lyrics to Pat Metheny's "The Space Between." The results are phenomenal. The music is faithful to the original Metheny composition but the added lyrics and vocals enhance the piece splendidly. Metheny would do well to commission Aimée Allen to write lyrics for everything he's ever written.
"The metaphysic of you and I defy, break through, all that we thought we knew." Her treatment of the lullaby at the end is wonderful.
"Matter of Time"--Aimée Allen's fourth CD--places her firmly amidst modern Jazz' finest vocalists and, especially, vocal composers. She has demonstrated incredible growth and has--in a very short time--reached a maturity unconfounded by her years. Aimée Allen no longer bears watching; she compels attention.
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