Dreams, we all have them, but what are they and what do they mean? Many experts disagree on exactly what the purpose of our dreams is and how they relate to our awakened state. Are they strictly random brain impulses, or are our brains actually working through various issues from our daily lives while we sleep -- as a sort of coping mechanism or time to assimilate various stimuli?
Should we even bother to interpret our dreams? Many say yes, we have a great deal to learn from our dreams and their symbolism. Our dreams combine verbal, visual and emotional stimuli into various broken, nonsensical but often entertaining story lines. We can sometimes even solve problems in our sleep. We can also envision the future and in or awakened states we daydream of the many possibilities that life can offer. Vocalist Aimee Allen has compiled eleven very enjoyable songs on her latest CD entitled Dream, which will give our brain more to dream about while asleep and create a more enjoyable atmosphere for us to daydream in when awake.
Allen first began to sing professionally as a college student while at Yale University, were she was an active member and soloist with two jazz a cappella singing groups. After graduation, Allen lived in Paris and performed regularly in the clubs and music festivals. It was there she said she found her, "understanding of the place of jazz in the world deepened and my interpretive style began to flourish."
Allen’s warm soprano voice sings ten standards and one original, a slow swinging blues entitled "Solitude Blues," which Allen penned. Although the songs are very familiar the arrangements and styles help breathe fresh air into the collection of standards. Allen also sings three of the songs in their native language and in English, giving a nice "world" flavor to the release.
The CD starts with "My Favorite Things," with Allen singing a syllabic melody line with pianist Dave Cook and bassist Ben Campbell which leads into the familiar melody. The band keeps the style flowing and in a modern jazz style with nice voicings and lines from Cook and a toe tapping swing groove from Campbell and drummer Brian Woodruff. Allen matches the texture set beneath her by the band with nice interpretive twist and turns with the melody.
"Honeysuckle Rose" is given a new harmonic framework and played in a slow moody open Latin tinged straight eighths fashion that makes the song much more interesting. Allen’s voice again matches the band and conveys the new mood with her vocal interpretation, making the whole presentation of this old and usually "bubble gum happy" standard have more meaning and musical depth.
The project has a nice flow with a wide variety of styles and instrument colors. The selections, although out of the usual vocal song book, are given new life and result in an enjoyable listen.
Allen expresses, when asked what message she hopes the CD conveys to the listener that; "Dream is a collection of songs, many of which make explicit reference to dreams, others which only refer to the act of dreaming obliquely. It could be thought of as a command to the listener. Or just a simple reminder, I think that is a part of what we do when we make music, we dream into existence things that otherwise could not be." The music on the CD certainly creates an atmosphere in which daydreaming is more pleasant. Pleasant dreams.