by Constance Tucker
Kaylé Brecher’s style is greatly influenced by the lineage of jazz singers like Sheila Jordan, who use their voice as a highly skilled instrument, but where Brecher traverses is also deeply influenced by a depth of lyric and thought provoking poetic ideals. On her latest offering This is Life, Brecher covers a sprinkle of standards and a dapple of originals, all arranged in a unique depth of languid performances.
Accompanied by varied instrumental settings, Brecher revels to the listener her diversity and variety of artistic skills. On “Not Alone,” “Moon Dreams,” and ” African Dream,” she exposes herself in a sparse accompaniment setting of either guitar, bass and harp, weaving eloquently between each accompanist’s supportive ideas. Tunes like “Wild Child,” “The Gift” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” display Brecher in her most inventive role, scatting over a full ensemble, or funkin and grooving with bassist Ratzo Harris and Grant Calvin Weston’s slinkin’ rhythmic drumming.
“Life Is Just A Rhythm” is an improvisational piece, with Brecher digging into her bag of poetic lyrics that is highlighted by Weston’s darting drumbeats, contrastingly on “Sea Of Dolphins” she locks in tightly with a carefree duet with Harris’ acoustic bass to the melody of Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance. “Torch to Hand” is a chance for the listener to hear Brecher in a ballad setting with the emerging harpist Brandee Younger offering a wraithlike texturing.
No matter the grouping or instrumentation, Brecher’s voice uniquely stands out. Her instrument is established and flexible enough to delivery varied approaches, her delivery is earthy, organic and at times ripe with emotional complexities. As a lyricist Brecher is poetic and offers an ala Dillon-esque vibe to her writing. She is fearless and bold, and not the standard fare of vocal chanteuses, like a weathered finely tuned horn, Brecher offers maturity and panache and a deeper meaning to the jazz message.