Impeccable timing, tone and elegance only begin to describe Outside The Soiree, from singer Erin McDougald. The 13-song collection is immersed in McDougald’s cool jazz approach, complete with a superb band, including virtuoso trumpeter and flugelhornist Tom Harrell and the brilliant saxophonist Dave Liebman. Combined with McDougald’s delivery, each track has a distinct sound and feel. But this only begins to describe the music.
About the Album
Right from the opening track, “Don’t Be On The Outside,” McDougald’s splendid voice jumps off of the recording, whether listening through headphones, hi-fidelity stereo speakers or just about anything else. Take a listen and you quickly can hear the artist’s pitch-perfect manner during the 5:45 song. The singing is crisp and emotive as each of the band members expertly pours through complementary harmonic structures. A nice blend of skin and cymbals adds to a comfortable meter. Remember, this is just the opening number.
Another highlight has McDougald tapping into a sophisticated American jazz classic with Cole Porter’s “Begin The Beguine.” EM uses faultlessly controlled inflections and nuanced tones when the songstress sings, “It brings back the sound of music so tender, it brings back a night of tropical splendor,” before subtly changing to a more reserved quality with the next line, “It brings back a memory evergreen.” McDougald tackles Porter’s uncommon song structure with aplomb. Additionally, the piano is noticeably gentle and moody, while the overall mix sounds clean and balanced. And there is more.
Additional Song Stylings
McDougald’s interpretation of the depression-era themed “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” is a bluesy Latin-flavored arrangement which reaches for a jazz crescendo by way of the singer’s powerful performance and a terrific saxophone accompaniment. The title cut from Outside The Soiree, written by McDougald, has a lush feel and is somewhat sad being in a minor key. But our favorite pick from the collection is “Linger A While-Avalon,” which is actually two pieces segued into one. The rapid fire rhythm section, guitar and wicked trumpet solos, combined with McDougald’s vocal gymnastics, suggests this track is a winner, bigtime. But would you expect anything less from such a remarkable lineup of talent?
Performance, solid arrangements and an enjoyable song selection make Outside The Soiree a recommended choice. Band members on the album are Erin McDougald – vocals; Dave Liebman – saxophones; Tom Harrell – trumpet/flugelhorn; Rob Block – piano/guitar; Mark Sherman – vibraphone/percussion; Chembo Corniel – percussion; Dan Block – alto saxophone/flute/clarinet; Cliff Schmitt – bass; and Rodney Green – drums.
Outside The Soiree is (C) 2018 Miles High Records.
Also, check out Erin McDougald’s live shows. Serious jazz aficionados surely will not be disappointed.
Erin McDougal on: