Ellen Honert, vocals – Breath of the Soul – Mill Station Records

by | Aug 31, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Ellen Honert, vocals – Breath of the Soul – Mill Station Records MSR-1001, 62:27 ****:

(With guest artists incl. Alex Acuna, Dori Caymmi, Abraham Laboriel Jr. & Sr.,  Andy Narell, Tuck & Patti, Frank Martin, Members of the Turtle Island String Quartet)

A fresh and delightful song collection featuring the voice of a fine new vocalist, six new songs she created together with her producer Frank Martin, and a raft of guest performers from the general San Francisco Bay Area as well as Brazil. Honert has a warm and attractive voice, she delivers the lyrics well – without either glossing over or over-defining them – and the production values of every track are top flight. The arrangements are a delight; they reminded me of some of the work composer Peter Schickle did for albums by Judy Collins in the past.

Honert hails from the Netherlands, though you would never know it by her accent.  Perhaps the diversity and creative experimentalism of music in the Amsterdam scene rubs off in the wide spectrum of musical approaches heard amonst these dozen tracks. She also sang with the gospel group at San Francisco’s Glide Church; bet they didn’t have anything like that in Amsterdam!  Just to add to the diversity, Honert sings the very last of the songs in Dutch.  The tracks with backing from the Turtle Island String Quartet members are among my favorites. Honert herself says she wants her music “to convey the essence of what it’s like to be fully alive…”  And her efforts on this album does just that.

TrackList: Blue, Life Is What You Make It, Spring, Two Lonely People, Someday, Love Dance, Hope, If It’s Magic, Got to Get You Into My Life, Away, Never Let Me Go, Inspiratie.

 – John Henry

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