Kellylee Evans does not get the attention she deserves and yet she must be swept up and have arms wrapped around her. That may be about to change. Her gorgeous voice rises to the heavens in rapturous wonder as if in consanguinity with a chorus of angels. She has that pristine quality about her voice that is ever so beckoning, not just to mere mortals as her listeners, but also to the acolytes that guard the celestial realm. Her approach to music is to seize it and when this coup de grace is complete the song becomes everlastingly hers. She does this miraculously to John Legend’s “Ordinary People” and to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and would almost obliterate the originals were they not so singular of melody. The breathtaking manner with which she makes these familiar tunes her own is magical. It is as if she enters the melodies corporeally and changes them elementally with her huge gasps of air, which she uses to transmute the linearity of the song into one that loops and gambols, and leaps like a gazelle gone absolutely mad with delight as it sniffs the spoor of a playful mother. Yes, she can be soulful as well as playful. Ms. Evans also has that chameleonic characteristic that comes from within her delicate lungs with which she transforms even the most complex melodies with her tremulous and angelic voice.
Ms. Evans is also a mystical figure. She inhabits songs not only in their perceivable dimensions, but also in the spectral ones. Sometimes without even a word, but with a breath she changes the course of the music from exhilarating to aching and from exacting to completely ethereal and nebulous. This is her absolutely inexplicable quality as a vocalist. The rising and falling of breath and voice in “Ordinary People,” Ms. Evans seems to own the phrases and lines and in an internecine manner she seems to swallow up the music in great gulps of air re-forming the musical components elementally in such a way that the whole of the music is made new in an almost enchanted way. This is something that the singer does almost throughout the album. She has a boundless energy and a spirit that is irrepressible as well. And that also means an energy that enables Ms. Evans to do this time and time again, tirelessly working her magic on songs as if she is a sorcerer and not really a vocalist. The steaming and bubbling of change as if in the cauldron of her inner core can be felt in her heart, which she allows to be revealed in the music. With this spectacular manner Kellylee Evans joins the elite group of singers from Billie Holiday downwards through history as someone who can be relied upon to make the listener weep if only because the vocalist is able to affect the soul of anyone who gives ear to her singing.
This album, I Remember When also marks the Motéma label as a music group that is astute and Jana Herzen as someone with the ability to spot a miracle from afar. Ms. Herzen has, in turn made her label a force to reckon with in 10 short years. No wonder it is being recognised in all sorts of places. The accolades from the right ones cannot be very far off.
Track List: My Name Is; I Remember When; One More Lover; And So We Dance (Alors on Danse); Built To Fly; Ordinary People; Lose Yourself; Only You; Jungle; Again; If I Was Your Woman; You Got Me; Amazing
Personnel: Kellylee Evans: vocals; Eric Löhrer: guitars, bass guitar (3); Sylvain Romano: double bass (1, 4 – 13); Fabrice Moreau: drums (1, 2, 4 – 10, 12, 13); Franck Agulhon: drums (5, 11); Boris Pokora: baritone saxophone (1, 7), tenor saxophone (1, 2, 5, 7, 11), flute (2 – 5, 11, ), bass clarinet (5, 13); Eric Legnini: keyboards (1 – 5, 8, 10, 11, 13), piano (2, 5 – 7, 9 – 11), Hammond B3 (3, 12), Wurlitzer (8, 13); percussion (4, 8, 10); Stéphane Belmondo: bass trumpet (2, 11), flugelhorn (2, 3, 6, 11), trumpet (3, 5, 7); Stéphane Edouard: percussion (2, 3, 4, 9), bongos (11)
Label: Motéma | Release date: September 2014
About Kellylee Evans
The Canadian rising star singer/songwriter Kellylee Evans is a chameleon-like performer, whose natural charm and improvisational jazz vocal style have shined on her adventurous journey through jazz, soul, pop and hip-hop over the past decade. In that period, she released two indie solo albums of original songs in Canada, earned two Juno Award nominations (winning “Best Jazz Vocal Album” for Nina, her impassioned tribute to Nina Simone), captivated adoring French and Canadian fan bases and performed around the world, opening for such stars as John Legend, Dianne Reeves, Derek Trucks, George Benson and Willy Nelson. She is about to stun America with her U.S. debut on Motéma Music… Read more…