On “You Hit The Spot”, Chicago singer Tracye Eileen returns to her straight-ahead jazz roots on an album of standards performed with a contemporary edge. This is Eileen’s fourth release and third full-length album. Always exploring new ways to express herself, each of her previous recordings covered different genres and stylistic approaches.
Eileen launched her professional career with the release of her first straight-ahead recording, Love’s Journey (2012). She recorded the album shortly after studying at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago. On her next album, Why Did I Say Yes? (2018), she veered away from straight-ahead jazz into soul and R&B. Then, in 2020, she released It’s Time, a smooth jazz album featuring originals co-written by Eileen on which she reflected on her journey of love as she moves through life.
Although she delved into various musical styles on her prior recordings, each of her albums have focused on love songs. “I’ve always been a fan of love songs,” says Eileen, “and I decided to be self-revealing, because I want my music to be authentic and real with songs that people can connect with.”
For Eileen, “You Hit The Spot” is a homecoming to straight-ahead jazz, which has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her father was a professional jazz drummer: “My father, Ed Smith, an accomplished jazz percussionist, was a major influence in my life. His inspiration many years ago led to successful roles as lead singer in my high school and college jazz bands and my continued love of jazz music” recalls Tracye.
On You Hit The Spot, Eileen is joined by two different bands made up of some of the top jazz artists Chicago has to offer. Her trio appears on five cuts that were recorded live at PianoForte, the beautiful performance space, recording studio, and high-end piano boutique. Her band includes Dennis Luxion (piano), Paul Martin (bass), and Linard Stroud (drums). She also brought on board Thomas Gunther to arrange and produce an additional three studio tracks, which feature Jeremy Kahn (piano), Jon Deitemyer (drums), Stewart Miller (bass), Steve Eisen (reeds), Raphael Crawford (trombone), and Victor Garcia (trumpet).
Eileen has always been attracted to the great vocalists from an earlier era, like Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone because of their extraordinary ability to tell stories through music. Indeed, for Eileen, there is no difference between singing and storytelling, and she approaches a song much like an actor approaches a role. She analyzes each song by writing a narrative about it. Once she settles on the details, she tailors her vocals to fit the story arc of the song. Although Eileen’s sound is reminiscent of her idols, her style is soulful, bluesy, and modern.
The songs on You Hit The Spot have been performed and recorded over the years by many wonderful artists, but Tracye Eileen brings her own perspective and successfully delivers authenticity to every style she chooses to sing. Her return to her straight-ahead jazz roots really does hit the spot. The album is set for release on August 26, 2022 on Honey Crystal Records and will be available at all of the usual places.
1. I Love Being Here With You | 2. You Hit the Spot | 3. They Can’t Take That Away from Me | 4. Almost Like Being in Love | 5. The Very Thought of You | 6. Just in Time | 7. This Can’t Be Love | 8. The End of a Love Affair
Tracye Eileen Band (1, 2, 8)
Tracye Eileen vocals | Jeremy Kahn piano | Jon Deitemyer drums | Stewart Miller bass | Steve Eisen reeds | Raphael Crawford trombone | Victor Garcia trumpet
Tracye Eileen Trio (3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
Tracye Eileen vocals | Dennis Luxion piano | Paul Martin bass |Linard Stroud drums
Release Date: August 26, 2022
Format: CD | Digital
Label: Crystal Records
Jazz Vocal Spotify Playlist
The Jazz In Europe “Jazz Vocal” playlist features a great selection of the best of todays Vocal Jazz, selected and curated by the team at Jazz In Europe. Updated weekly, this playlist is the perfect place to discover new music from the leading jazz vocalists currently on the scene. We hope you enjoy this selection.
Last modified: August 28, 2022