Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Asian Jazz Beat (Music Thoughts: Melissa Tham, Falling In Love Again)

Here's something that is a little bit of an oddity: a jazz vocals album by an Asian singer. Melissa Tham is from Singapore, and I think another jazz singer I like, Jacintha, is from there as well. It must be something in the water there.. But Tham has more Europe in her it seems: she sings in London and this album was actually recorded in Germany for the JazzNotes label. No wonder it sounds slick - the production is first rate and she is backed ably. The singing style is, too - perhaps even a little too slick. While I do think she knows what she is singing about, the motto here is more style over substance. But that's not a bad thing. The repertoire is mostly first rate, if a bit predictable. The "Yesterdays" here is not Kern but The Beatles, and "Falling In Love Again" is an original. She sings with great confidence, and swings well - you can sense that in the opener "Swing With Me," and "Just Squeeze Me."  In fact, most of the swinging tracks are hot. On ballads, she is competent if a bit detached, and I don't know if purposely. She may sound more lounge than jazz club, but the album can grow on you.

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