Canadian vocalist Jaclyn Guillou is back with an ambitious new release to showcase her depth and range as an emerging vocal star.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Winter for Beginners is an intimate release of warmth and melodic bliss, problem is it may be a step down from the last release. Granted any release is merely a snapshot in time, sometimes you gotta get away. The band is incredibly gifted. Guillou's voice only gets better over time and the ambient infusion of a winters touch only makes the release that much more special. Problem? Guillou primarily does her own material and the lyrical content is at times, flat. There is an ebb and flow here and while my first and only real criticism of any artist similar to Guillou would be to add the occasional well placed cover, "Poetry Man" doesn't work for me. Didn't dig the original and the cover is like chewing gum, five minutes later the flavor is gone. Harsh? No, Guillou is simply that talented and she will now be held under closer scrutiny as music is no longer an art - it's a business.
Another tune that should have been left off would be the Guillou original "Castle Garden." The tune comes off strained and at times forced. Two questionable tracks out of nine isn't a bad way to go and remember a review is merely an objective perspective. "When The Leaves Fall" along with "Clouds" are two tunes that more than make up for any potential disappointment.
So here is the deal, a step down from Jaclyn Guillou is still light years better than some artists best work. This is a winter chill release. Grab your favorite sweater, blanket and kick back as you discover a premier vocal talent deserving of far wider recognition. I'm rating this on past releases, creativity of this release and untapped potential. An independent artist I believe in, Jaclyn Guillou.
Tracks: Land of the Silver Birch; In A Wooden House; When The Leaves Fall; Winter For Beginners; Spring; Summer Where?; Clouds; Castle Garden; Poetry Man.
Personnel: Jaclyn Guillou: Vocals; Bruno Hubert: Piano; David Blake: Guitar; James Meger: Bass; Andrew millar: Drums; Brad Turner: Flugelhorn (5) Trumpet & Triangle (6); Peggy Lee: Cello (1,3,8); Neelamjit Dhillon: Table (6).