Leslie Lewis is all a good jazz singer should be. On her new CD, Keeper of the Flame, her beautiful tone and classy phrasing come through strong on tracks like "Day by Day," "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Speak Low," and evoke the sound of classic jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
On the title track, "Keeper of the Flame," Leslie's soulful voice plays beautifully with the melodies and tempo changes, with Jerry Kalaf adding a powerful drum solo. And, her silky, smooth vocals on the jazzy version of Ivan Lins' "The Island" hits you full of emotion.
The Brazilian influence can be heard throughout this album, especially on "Day by Day," the jazzy arrangements of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "A Felicidade," "Chega de Saudade" and the sublime version of "Fotografia." On these tracks, one may sometimes hear echoes of the Ella Fitzgerald sings Jobim album, both in tone and phrasing.
I always enjoy listening to Juan Tizol's "Caravan," one of the most recorded jazz classics. Leslie's vocals are just perfect on one of the best version I have heard recently, with interesting rhythmic and harmonic choices.
Leslie Lewis' vocals are complimented perfectly by her husband, Gerard Hagen and his trio, and special guest, Gary Foster, on sax.