Tracye Eileen: You Hit the Spot

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Tracye Eileen

You Hit the Spot

(Honey Crystal Records)

August 25, 2022

Reviewed by Alix Cohen

In terms of arrangements, you might be listening to classic fifties jazz here with You Hit the Spot and that’s not a bad thing. Tracye Eileen’s confident swing, Chicago-inflected pronunciation, and engaging attitude are appealing.

Vocals climb, slide down, and arc almost visually on the Bill Schluger/Peggy Lee “I Love Being Here with You.
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” The title song by Harry Revel and Mack Gordon is savory.
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There’s a slight quiver, like a flickering candle, at the end of thoughts. Victor Garcia’s trumpet goes cheerily whirley-gig. Eileen manages to sound seductive even when singing medium tempo.

“They Can’t Take That Away from Me” dances in a restrained soft shoe. (“Neva, Eva” she sings.) Her pauses seem meditative. Jeremy Kahn’s piano is silvery. “The Very Thought of You” (Ray Noble) emerges in long, languid phrases as if buttering. It’s satin and cocktails; her timbre is brooding. A simply lovely instrumental interlude takes us to a subtly more emphatic denouement; there’s a kneading of the lyrics.

“Just in Time” (Adolph Green/Betty Comden/Jule Styne) is jazz with a spritz of seltzer; it’s rhythmic hope. Eileen plays with the delivery here as if she’s being tickled. “The End of a Love Affair” (Edward C. Redding) arrives tremulous, shadowy; it’s film noir. Her hands in her pockets and her collar up, Eileen walks through musical changes as if the scenery were changing. It’s the underbelly of a relationship. The feeling swells to a big (not over the top) ending— it fades out with sumptuous ease.

“Almost Like Being in Love” (Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe) and “This Can’t Be Love” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) are to me arrangements that are mismatched to the lyrical intention.

For the most part, this is good listening. Tracye Eileen clearly knows what she’s doing and takes pleasure in sharing.

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.