Kaylé Brecher is a singer of considerable gifts that might easily span a very broad spectrum of music –perhaps even classical arias – should she choose to venture that far. Her vocal range is quite amazing and she can swoop down to a smoky contralto and soar into the upper reaches of the soprano register. It would seem, therefore, that a recording such as Kayleidoscope has been a long time in coming. At any rate it is here and ought to be celebrated for its many-splendoured music.
No matter her gifts, the decision to begin the recording with a song such as “My Favourite Things” represents a leap of a proverbial high wire with absolutely no net to speak of. Why? The reason is that after John Coltrane revisited the song on his eponymous, seventh studio album it’s hard to think of many who would dare follow him and that too with another free interpretation of the song Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein created for the iconic film The Sound of Music. Mr Coltrane set the bar so high that anyone coming after him would first have to find that height before even attempting to find that Holy Grail of a bar before even “thinking of going for it”. As it turns out Miss Brecher is more than a match for this challenge and soars towards it with a voice that is lustrous.
The rest of the repertoire is a mixture of the familiar and the rarely-sung. Miss Brecher reveals that each of the songs speaks to her in a very special way. As a result she works the narrative and the poetry of each set of lyrics with an inspired magic. To get a measure this you have to go back to songs such as “She”, “Shattered” and “Sea of Dolphins”. Each time you do you will find how dramatically different scenarios, stories and characters are brought alive as if by weaving remarkably different spells.
Miss Brecher has also arranged all of this material. One the face of it this might seem par for the course for a musician of her experience. But consider that fact that she has worked these tunes with a varied cast. This doesn’t simply mean finding a cast of characters who can fill out a role for this is not an ensemble album. Rather each of the parts seems to have been written with a specific musician in mind. Listen to “My Favourite Things” with Darryl Hall, “Shattered” with the inimitable Ratzo Harris, “Wonders Unfold” with Andy Lalasis and finally “Sea of Dolphins” with Jim Stager and you will hear just what this means.
It also shows that Miss Brecher has done a magnificent job of casting each bassist in a role perfect for him. The same goes for the rest of the musicians on this album. Each one – from guitarist Frank Butrey to the percussionist Juan Castellanos – has been hand-picked for his particular skills to undertake his very own, unique and remarkable musical journey with Miss Brecher.
Track list – 01: My Favourite Things; 02: Glad Bag; 03: Fruits of the Spirit; 04: She; 05: Something About You; 06: Shattered; 07: Wonders Unfold; 08: An Elegant Tale; 09: The Gentle Rain; 10: Sea of Dolphins; 11: I Remember It Well
Personnel – Kaylé Brecher: vocals and arrangements; Miriam Suzzette Ortiz: piano and vocal harmony (05); Frank Butrey: electric guitar (02, 03, 08) and acoustic guitar (04, 09); Dr John Valerio: piano (01, 10); Michael Louis Frank: piano (03, 04); David Dzubinski: piano (07); Ratzo Harris: contrabass (02, 05, 06, 08); Darryl Hall: contrabass (01, 03); Andy Lalasis: contrabass (07); Jim Stager: contrabass (10); Erik Johnson: drums (02, 08, 10); Grant MacAvoy: drums (01, 03, 07); Doc Gibbs: percussion (09); Joe Ruscitto: percussion (04); Juan Castellanos: percussion (05)
Released – 2020
Label – Penchant Four Music
Runtime – 48:30