Jeanne Trevor

Love You Madly

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Love You Madly Review

by Dave Nathan

Jeanne Trevor has been a fixture in St. Louis entertainment and community service arenas close to 40 years becoming a Gateway City institution. Finally given the opportunity by the Catalyst label to cut her own album, she takes full advantage. Nowhere does that well worn phrase, "it's about time," have greater meaning than here. Trevor has all the tools and knows how to use them. Her refreshing use of wordless vocalizing as she moves back and forth between regular "words" and scat in the same lyrical phrase is spotlighted on "Love You Madly." Her looping swoops give meaning to rather than distort the lyrics. Trevor handles foreign languages with poise and assurance. A very poignant "When the World Was Young" is partially in French. Her Spanish is good enough on "Anna" that it sounds as if it is being sung by a native of a Latin country.

Trevor combines the phrasing and delivery of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. She has the verve, brightness, and range that characterized Fitzgerald, but also calls upon the phrasing, ornamentation, and melodic variation that was so uniquely Holiday's. Listen to her tremor and wrenching of "lazy" in "Lazy Afternoon." She is comfortable with all types of tunes and at ease in any tempo. "Early in the Morning" is as swinging blues as you're going to hear and "What a Difference a Day Made" would make the Queen herself, Dinah Washington, sit up and take notice. She transforms the bop anthem "Work Song" into a R&B, story of a chain gang convict pounding rocks into dust. Old tent revival gospel preaching and signifying is captured in the traditional "Give Me Jesus."

Normally the pianist is the major pillar of support for a vocalist. Without detracting from Simon Rowe's fine work, it's the tenor of Willie Akins that, as much as anything, makes this album a success. He does whatever is needed to bring out the best in the vocalist. Unfortunately, like Trevor, he is a well-kept secret outside of St. Louis. Love You Madly is highly recommended.

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