the first solo album from Serbian singer Alma Micic opens with a lovely and haunting take of Ellington and Strayhorn’s "Day Dream." Brandon McCune ushers the performance in with a hushed and melancholy piano figure that sensitively supports the wistful vocals of Micic. Both singer and band do a fine job of charging the chestnut with their own sensibility.
The updating works less successfully on "Corcovado" which is taken at a rapid clip that obliterates the gentle contemplation of the lyrics. Like "My Funny Valentine," "Corcovado" is one of the sturdier standards and seems to yield marvelous results when done in the typical tempo. Artists can never be faulted for trying to put their own stamp on classic material, but a rendition done in the traditional manner would have been a lovely thing, given the strength and clarity of Micic’s voice.
Elsewhere, Micic reaches outside the jazz canon for a melancholy performance of a Montenegrin traditional, "Sejdefu Majka Budjase," as well as delivering an original from her own pen in "That April Day." These tracks are highly welcome, further personalizing a striking debut. The future appears bright for this unique talent.