Kiravell’s ‘Vaudevellia’ a good, but not-quite great jazz album
On her new album “Vaudevellia,” Kiravell presents an interesting dilemma for the listener. You find yourself wanting to love it, but there’s just something missing that keeps it from being a great piece of art.
She’s got most of the elements to make it an unforgettable jazz album. The haunting violin sounds on “Charge,” the upbeat piano intro in “Wash” that leads nicely into the mellow tone the rest of the album takes.
For me, though, what’s holding this album back is the lack of range in Kiravell’s voice. A great female jazz singer can hit you with her ability to knock the vocals out of the park from the minute she opens her mouth.
There’s nothing wrong with the vocals on “Vaudevellia,” but there’s just no home-runs here.
Using that same baseball analogy, Kiravell does have quite a few doubles and triples — songs such as “Yellow Hazy,” or “Pache Mama” which is more of a rap/poem than a straight jazz track. A song that uses just enough attitude and emotion to leave an impact on listeners, which is aided nicely by the excellent bongo drums and piano backing.
Perhaps the best track on the album, however, is the French love song “Aladin.” The song reminded me, at least in part, to Jessica Pare’s take on “Zou Bisou Bisou” from the fourth season of the AMC show “Mad Men.” Perhaps only because of the similar sexy approach, and the fact that both tracks are in French on top of that.
Whereas there was a certain amount of ridiculousness with “Zou Bisou Bisou” however, “Aladin” is much more serious without sacrificing any of the sexiness.
It might be a bit unfair to judge an album based on a singer’s singing ability, but, objectively speaking, nearly all of the greats, be it Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and even Amy Winehouse, had uniquely incredible vocals.
“Vaudevellia” isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll find more than a few enjoyable tracks. It’s just that, however — a good album, not a great one.