Ellynne Plotnick

Life Is Beautiful

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On Life Is Beautiful, vocalist Ellynne Plotnick takes a turn at singing a series of her own compositions, taking straightforward nightclub jazz and mixing it with influences from the realm of R&B balladry. The album opens with the title track, an interesting piece with varying time signatures and a bit of a cascading vocal melody. As she moves on, she covers more straightforward jazz, with long and flowing vocal lines thrown in for good measure. She returns to the long-form vocals from time to time, most notably at the end of "Recurrence," a small dose that doesn't quite work out. Where Plotnick shines most is in her composing. Her vocals are nice enough, but fail to set her apart from a legion of similar songstresses in hotel bars and nightclubs around the country. Her piano skills are formidable, as displayed in a handful of tracks as she accompanies herself singing. Her compositions have the potential to capture ears here -- a few hit close to songbook territory, and come off as both reminiscent and bland as a result. A few others, however, break out as something new and different -- they really make the album for Plotnick, and are the best reasons to give Life Is Beautiful a listen.

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