May 4, 2006

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Ellynne Plotnick, I Walk Alone
Self-released, 2006

Jazz singing requires a drudging fascination with the minutiae of vocal mechanics, a necessary evil that causes some artists to fall prey to their own personal fixations with whatever micro-nuance is stressing them out at the time. This can lead to moments where ends are lost in a whirl of means, which explains the creative angina that handcuffs Floating World’s intro track “Small Day Tomorrow.” Here, as in a few other spots, Plotnick is in practice mode, busily at work flogging a lower register that’s a tad out of her range rather than focusing on entertaining the live crowd with her understated, piano-oriented three-piece at New York City’s Triad Theater. Unquestionably the low point of her first live record, it’s a shame she chose it as the icebreaker instead of one of her own torchy compositions, where she shines brightly enough. Rebuilt versions of “Don’t Blame Me” and “Get out of Town” spotlight her impressive scatting abilities while granting the band opportunities to make mama proud, but the former suffers from several glissando phrasings ending in clunks that make her sound like one more tiresome Berklee pedant ordering Au Bon Pain. C
— Eric W. Saeger


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