Album Review: Sky Blossom from Alexis Cole

Album:  Sky Blossom
Artist:  Alexis Cole
Label:  Zoho Music
Website:  alexiscole.com

Sky Blossom, a term in the US military used to describe a parachute opening, is the title of vocalist Alexis Cole's upcoming release.  It's by design that she adapted the term to describe her debut release with Zoho Music as formerly she was a jazz singer for the US Army's Big Band.  Now, ready to leap into the unknown as a solo recording artist, she performs a handful of swinging and pop classics from her time as the vocalist for the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights, 

Cole's compilation of jazz novelties and pop favorites sparkle anew with her sultry voicing applied to "How Long Has This Been Goin' On" and her penchant for sizzling swing and upbeat scat displayed in "Joy Spring."  Her vocals make an indelible mark on her rendition of "New York State of Mind," blending facets of pop, jazz, scat, and blues into a stimulating mixture that has not been presented before.  The smooth, casual flow of her vocals make the verses roll effortlessly.

The reflective mood of "American Anthem" highlights the glistening textures of Cole's timbres, while the dreamy atmospherics of "Pure Imagination" demonstrates the refined nuances in her vocals.  Her vocal inflections grip the listener's attention.  The depth of her register is demonstrated in "All Blues," reaching some very refined tenor levels.

Compiling songs from her tour of duty while in the armed forces, Cole's affection for these novelties are shared by her audiences, who too may have happy memories attached to these melodies. If they don't, her interpretation of these songs will surely leave a pleasant impression on listeners.  Cole's inclination to build community spirit through music is a talent that she owns entirely.

Complimenting her vocal prowess, Alexis Cole recently founded the website JazzVoice.com, an online educational community featuring singing classes, professional development workshops and private lessons with some of the top names in vocal jazz. She is in her 7th year as the director of the vocal program at the renowned conservatory at SUNY Purchase, and is a Jamey Aebersold-sponsored clinician.

Musicians:

Alexis Cole - vocals
Jeff Jarvis - conductor
Ryan DeWesse, Cade Gotthardt, Evan Hamada, Andrew Solares - trumpets
Phineas Crisp, Ken Eernisse, Anna Menotti, Bobby Burton - trombones
Stephen Wood, Erik Larsen, Tanner Olivas and Chris Cockrill - saxophones
Alex Flavell - piano
Max Myrick - bass
Tyler Kreutel - drums
Brandon Johnson - guitar
Pablo Muñoz - Snyder - vibes
Nick Mancini - vibes
Jeff Haynes - percussion

Featuring:
Bob Sheppard - solos on "Pure Imagination" and "Social Call"
Derrick James - solos on "All Blues" and "New York State of Mind"
Jeff Jarvis - solos on "Estate," "Triste," and "How I Wish"
Paul Meyers - guitar on "Estate," "Across the Universe," and "Social Call"
David Finck - bass on "Estate," "Acros the Universe," and "Triste"
Nathan King - saxophone on "Our Love Is Here To Stay"
Jaehun Kang – piano on "American Anthem"
Sébastien Nouat - sound design

Guests on "Joy Spring" and "How I Wish"
John Castleman - trumpet solo on "Joy Spring"
Vito Speranza, Josh Economy, Rich Johnson - trumpets
Dan Pierce, Ron Fleischman, Jason Miller, Teddy Arnold - trombones
Mike Reifenberg, Derrick James, David Loy Song, Jay Malone, Xavier Perez - saxophones
Scott Arcangel - piano solo on "How I Wish"
Mark Tonelli - guitar
Brandon Nelson - bass
Scott Drewes - drums

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