On You Hit the Spot, she returns to her straight-ahead Jazz roots. Her previous recordings centered on love songs but, for this album, she says, “I decided to be self-revealing because I want my music to be authentic and real with songs that people can connect with.” And she herself hit the spot.
There are two bands, with the smoking hot studio band of Jeremy Kahn on piano, Jon Deitemyer on bass, Stewart Miller on drums, and Steve Eisen on reeds, Raphael Crawford on trombone, and Victor Garcia on trumpet. Then there is the live trio of Dennis Luxion on piano, Paul Martin on bass, and Linard Stroud on drums. With both studio and live recordings, this album gives us everything we could ask.
I Love Being Here with You kicks off the album and what a start. The sextet swings, and swings well, while Tracye is as swinging as anyone. Her phrasing and intonation is terrific.
The Gershwin’s They Can’t Take That Away from Me is witty, sultry, sassy, and oh-so-entertaining with Tracye’s delivery and sense of humor. The trio is magnificent and, together, they all make this a version that would thrill George and Ira Gershwin.
Lerner & Loewe’s Almost Like Being in Love is from their 1947 musical Brigadoon. Tracye and the trio turn this into an excellent and straightforward Jazz tune that is fun and exciting. That is followed by Ray Noble’s The Very Thought of You. Tracye is warm and emotional and just steals your heart. Luxion’s piano with bass and drums make this a ballad of tenderness and some melancholy. A brilliant version of a brilliant composition.
Rodgers & Hart’s This Can’t Be Love is a bold declaration of exactly what she feels. Self-revealing, indeed. Martin’s bass is excellent and the trio make their brilliant contributions with aplomb. Then she closes the album with Edward C. Redding’s The End of a Love Affair. Written in the 1950s, it was recorded by Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, and others. But Tracye’s version with the sextet is the high-water mark and that is not an exaggeration. A fine end to such a brilliant album.
Tracye Eileen makes her mark with permanence on You Hit the Spot. With sass and swing, wit and wisdom, Trayce Eileen proves her worth and talent over and again. She makes you want to dance. And I don’t dance.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl