The human voice can be a magical instrument. When studying this instrument closely, the voice is defined generally by pitch, note, and tone. These terms are often used the wrong way, used in place of each other, interchangeably. Pitch, is the frequency of sound, either high or low. When you sing, you create pitch because your vocal cords vibrate at a certain speed. Note, is the symbol that tells you where to place the pitch. Tone, is the color or timbre of pitch. Tone can be described by many different words, including warm, dark, rich, lush, etc.
Typhanie Monique is a skilled performer. This was on display this Friday evening past at a near capacity Old Town School of Music in Chicago, IL where she rolled out songs from her new CD “Call It Magic” (Dot Time Records) backed by an accomplished extremely tight ensemble. Starting her uninterrupted 120 minutes, 13 songs set with ‘Where Is Love’, Typhanie not only demonstrated how magical the voice can really be but also provided us with something very rarely experienced these days, vocal beauty. Vocal beauty is an attribute that provides us with a perceptual occurrence of joy or liking. Vocal beauty is the emotion that goes beyond tone; it is its own texture that creates musical landscapes.
This was on immediate exhibit from her second offering ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’, which displayed a stunning interplay between the voice and drummer Dana Hall. Typhanie then treated us to ‘Called Love’, dedicated to songwriter Tony Monica, after reflecting with us the effect cognac has on song creativity. Her original ‘Sister’ teamed with Quincy Jones ‘Miss Celies Blues’, with Marques Carroll’s trumpet and Geof Bradfield’s clarinet holding sway, hinted a Billie Holliday smoky vocal, was exquisite. Every presentation had a highlight, as Typhanie took as through the 10 tracks on the CD. Typhanie also added a delightful Rogers and Hart Little Girl Blue summoning up some scat reminiscent of the great Ella Fitzgerald, then flowed into Stevie Wonder’s ‘Girl Blue’ featuring Mr. Bradfield on sax, again was exquisite.
Typhanie invited long time collaborator and friend, guitarist Neal Alger to join her on ‘Letting My Love Go’, which blended a beautiful audience participation and exquisite horn conclusion. After dedicating ‘This Bitter Earth’ to pianist Ben Lewis, who was playing his first gig back after a near death accident, Typhanie debuted her take on Bob Dylan’s ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’, offering the Dylan lyric a jazz perspective, full of passion and elegance.
Dot Time Record owner Jo Bickhardt reflected during the CD presentation that the voice is the only instrument that can’t be tuned. Pitch, Note and Tone are not mechanical when it comes to the human voice. These are elements that we as listeners take for granted. Typhanie closed her performance with ‘Magic’, the first track from the album. On this night at the Old Town, Typhanie Monique simply was!
Where Is Love/Love Is
What is This Thing Called Love – Tony Monaco
Sister/Miss Celies Blues – Typhanie Monique/Quincy Jones
Heart of The Matter – Don Henley
Letting My Love Go
Little Girl Blue – Rodgers and Hart
Girl Blue – Stevie Wonder
This Bitter Earth
Boots of Spanish Leather – Bob Dylan
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore – Duke Ellington
Magic – Coldplay
Vocals – Typhanie Monique, Drums – Dana Hall | Greg Artry, Piano – Ben Lewis,
Bass – Josh Ramos, Guitar – Neal Alger, Percussion – Felipe Fraga, Cello – Wendy Cotton, Sax – Geof Bradfield, Trumpet – Marques Carroll, Violins – Katherine Hughes | Chihsuan Yang | Carol Kalvonjian.
Text: Lori I. Huttie
Images: Michael Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org