San Gabriel 7: Under the Stars

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San Gabriel 7

Under the Stars

Vocals by Sinne Eeg

(Mouthpiece Music)

May 11, 2022

Reviewed by Alix Cohen

San Gabriel 7 is a jazz/funk band composed of superb musicians— Jim Lewis (bandleader/trombone), Chad Edwards (keyboards/B3), Chris Gordon (piano/producer), Steve Gregory (guitar), Jonathan Pintoff (bass), Randy Drake (drums), Scott Breadman (percussion), Jeff Jarvis (trumpet/flugelhorn), Kyle Palmer (trumpet), Dave Holben (tuba on “Hymn”), Glen Berger and Alex Budman (woodwinds)—that has recorded these original songs, some perhaps destined to be contemporary classics. The immensely supple, melismatic vocals are by Scandinavian vocalist Sinne Eeg.

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“I’m in the Mood” has an easy, smooth swing with elongated lyric bridges. Twirling horns are led by Budman’s sax—“Touch me, kiss me/Don’t resist me/’m in the mood,” Eeg spreads the lyrics like butter. “The Barista” is set to a Latin rhythm in a layered arrangement; the lyrics are balladic. Eeg’s vocal rises, slides, descends—“I’m his favorite guest I’ve always known/The way he draws hearts in my foam.
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” Palmer’s trumpet joins the sax. It’s like listening to birds gleefully stunt fly; it’s more than the sum of its parts.

“Under the Stars” is a Carnivale tune with many graceful small steps and swinging hips and includes round-edged skat. Picture swaying palm trees. The horns overlap while the piano sashays. Phrases emerge as if they were a visible breath. La-las take us out. “I’m Feelin’ Good” is a blues song, perhaps living on the other side of heartbreak? Mournful horns accompany this tune that features a reflective trumpet and a satin vocal. Perhaps the protagonists needed three martinis to convince herself that nothing lasts forever.

“Never Let You Go” is a slow dance melody embroidered by the vocal—“I’m just a fool/Tryin’ to play by the rules.” There is beautiful, tensile control without audible tension. “She’s not the one who’ll make your grass grow/But you’re the last to know/So I’ll hold on till she’s gone.” The trumpet is wistful. “Hymn” offers a soft blanket of horns; a muted trumpet remembers when.

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.