by Constance Tucker
In 2011, I had the esteemed pleasure of reviewing Allen’s offering Winters & Mays. Similarly like Allen’s last release, the vocalist and composer stretches the listener with well-crafted and well-conceived choices and lyrics, coupled with Allen’s undeniable vocal style that is filled with sophistication of phrasing, alluring timbre and strength. Allen is accompanied by a master of Brazilian rhythm, Romero Lubambo on an Allen original “Matter of Time,” a Bergman and Lins original “The Island” and a very continental version of “Qu’est-ce qu’on est bien ici,” re-imagined in a duet setting. This cut is especially exciting it its intimate setting, formerly recorded by Allen on her album l’Inexplicable, released in 2007, sung in French, yet given a bossa treatment, this original penned by Allen is supremely divine. What better tribute to her innately inviting Brazilian easy going style than the timeless Jobim cut “Corcovado,” covered by so many vocalists, Allen still breaths a fresh life into this timeless standard. Lubambo is eloquent and sensitive all the while creating a full canvas for Allen to paint upon.
Rounding out the ensemble are long time collaborators, François Moutin (bass), Toru Dodo (piano), and Jacob Melchior (drums) with an additional special guest Scott Ritchie (bass) on “Matter of Time.” Each player unites the sound and heightens the meaning whether a well-known standard or Allen original. Speaking of original, how often do you see vocalist pen original lyrics to a Pat Metheny tune like Allen has here on “The Space Between.” Allen is a true craftsman, who continues to amaze.
A highlight for me was another Allen original “Soul Cargo.” Allen’s ability to craft meaningful lyrics with interesting melody lines is truly a strong suit for Allen. I had predicted her next release would be her tour de force, and my prediction is certainly standing true. Allen has even outdone herself on Matter of Time, cementing her place as a significant composers, lyricist and vocal stylist; I genuinely hope Ms. Allen is here to stay for many years to come. She is a breath of fresh air, and a fine shining example of the best of this generation, and what it truly has to offer. Well done Aimée, well done.