Hot & Silver is a short, four-song introduction to Brooklyn-based vocalist and trombonist Elizabeth!
With only a few songs to make an impression, the singer wisely opens with "L-O-V-E" by Bert Kaempfert and Milt Gabler. It’s a gently swinging number that gives the newcomer a chance to scat and offer a nod to earlier jazz vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
Elizabeth! then continues in the jazz tradition by performing Cole Porter’s classic "Night & Day" but with a modern touch. A moody horn punctuates and propels the song. At times, it works as a duet with the vocals.
"Bewitched" by Richard Rodgers and Lorenzo Hart is nicely done. It’s a song that has been performed by just about every female vocalist. It’s almost a rite of passage for a singer to take on this tune and demonstrate what she can do with it. Elizabeth! handles the number with a deft touch, delivering lines like "although the laugh is on me" with a perfect blend of amusement and helplessness. Although some singers play up the humor in the song, Elizabeth! plays it more straight. Saxophonist Dan Schlessinger adds to the mood.
The CD closes with "Time After Time" by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. A big band-like treatment allows the musicians, including Elizabeth! on trombone, to stretch and show off their skills.
Before dropping her last name for an exclamation point, Elizabeth Dotson-Westphalen grew up in a musical family in Vermont. While at Harvard University, she studied cognitive neuroscience and psychology and immersed herself in Boston’s music scene. She has performed with many jazz and rock musicians.
Hot & Silver is a teaser. With only four songs, the EP isn't quite filling. But, it’s a strong enough effort to leave listeners wanting more and wondering what the singer could do in a longer format.