Jessie Arlen's "Certain Surprise" CD release concert
Tuesday, January 12
1245 Chicago Ave.
Tickets $10-20 and can be purchased at evanstonspace.com
To purchase the cd:
Jessie Arlen, a 22 year-old New York-based vocalist and Downbeat Student Music Award winner in the category of Best Jazz Vocalist, releases her debut recording "Certain Surprise" Tuesday, Jan. 12. Winner of Downbeat Magazine's 2007 Best Jazz Vocalist Student Award, Arlen's pure, soulful voice lends itself to multiple musical styles including jazz, folk and R&B.
Described as a crossover artist with roots in jazz, Arlen is a classification-defying singer who embraces songs in a way that belies her relative youth. Her interpretations both honor the composer's style and intent and adds a very personal and contemporary relevance.
The album features a number of standards, including versions of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and Ann Ronell's "Willow Weep for Me" that sound as though they were taped during a smoky, middle-of-the-night jam session, while her take on Mercer and Kern's "I'm Old Fashioned" transports the listener back to the tuxedoed elegance of a 1940s night club. By contrast, her interpretation of the Beatles' "Oh! Darling" has a Ray Charles-like soulfulness, and two Burt Bacharach standards are performed with a in a way that salutes the pop-tune original but gives them a modern twist. The lesser known "More Love" by J. Segal and the John Martyn's title track are performed with a heartfelt delicacy that gives the listener the sense that they are hearing a classic tune and lyric for the first time.
Arlen has been surrounded by music her entire life. The daughter of popular Chicago area orchestra leader Ken Arlen, Jessie Arlen is currently studying music at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and New York's Eugene Lang College. Earlier, while studying at Lawrence University, jazz great Jon Hendricks chose her to be the principal vocalist for the Lawrence University Jazz Artist Concert Series. In the Chicago area, she has studied voice with Winifred Brown and John Komasa and was a soloist with Evanston Township High School's top Jazz Instrumental Ensemble. Also a composer, she plays piano and guitar.