Aimée Allen, Love & the Catalyst Review
By Sylvannia Garutch
Aimée Allen is a vocalist and songwriter who has been turning many heads in recent years as she grows her substantial creative album catalog. Allen’s latest release, Love & the Catalyst, presents her refined original modern jazz music along with innovative arrangements of selections from the jazz cannon. Allen’s original music is intense musically and compelling lyrically. Her lyric themes include the wisdom of change and the catalytic agents that bring it about. Transformation, large and small, personal and collective, social and scientific. Allen will delight listeners in her lyrics about the alchemy of romance explored through the surprisingly sensual metaphors of science and the cosmos. This social conscience songwriter is a Nominee for the 54th Annual NACCP Outstanding Jazz Album – Vocal category.
“Quantum Entanglements” is an Allen original demonstrating her impressive songwriting skills. The lyrics reference quantum physics and romance through metaphors. In addition to Allen’s intelligent lyrics, her vocal tone and range will also impress. With a sensual aura, Allen’s approach to melody writing is squarely in the modern jazz aesthetic with wide leaps and intricate rhythms, all supported by beautiful harmonic movements. Allen’s talented ensemble for the project is GRAMMY-nominated pianist Toru Dodo, world-renowned bassist François Moutin, multifaceted drummer Kush Abadey, virtuosic guitarist Tony Romano, and a new young talent, trumpet player Noah Allen, Allen’s nephew.
Paired with Allen’s well-created originals are thoughtful and creative arrangements from the jazz cannon. “Little Sunflower” is transformed by Allen and company into a powerful modern jazz statement. Moutin’s brilliantly melodic bass playing anchors the ensemble while Dodo and Abadey play thoughtfully, facilitating space for Allen to freely express herself. Dodo’s solo is modern and harmonious, as is Moutin’s fluid bass solo. Allen’s last singing of the melody demonstrates her gift for embellishing and augmenting a theme making this vocal rendition of “Little Sunflower” a worthy addition to the modern jazz lineage of this familiar tune.
Love & the Catalyst expresses Aimée Allen continues to push forward in her thought-provoking catalog with lasting and poignantly memorable songs. Offering the opportunity for generations to evoke the catalyst of her lyrics and music. Like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone boldly took on social issues that needed focus, Allen similarly tackles social humanism for change and the role of its transformation.