Jazz Vocalist Jessie Arlen Releases Her Debut CD

Jessie_Arlen_photo_by_Tara_Chumpelik Jessie Arlen, a 22 year-old New York-based vocalist and Downbeat Student Music Award winner in the category of Best Jazz Vocalist, releases her debut recording “Certain Surprise” Tuesday, Jan. 12.  Arlen’s pure, soulful voice lends itself to multiple musical styles including jazz, folk and R&B. Arlen returns to her hometown of Evanston, Ill. for a concert to celebrate the debut at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Described as a crossover artist with roots in jazz, Arlen is a classification-defying singer who embraces songs in a way that belies her relative youth.   Her interpretations both honor the composer’s style and intent and adds a very personal and contemporary relevance. 

The album features a number of standards, including versions of Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” and Ann Ronell’s “Willow Weep for Me” that sound as though they were taped during a smoky, middle-of-the-night jam session, while her take on Mercer and Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned” transports the listener back to the tuxedoed elegance of a 1940s night club.  By contrast, her interpretation of the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” has a Ray Charles-like soulfulness, and two Burt Bacharach standards are performed with a in a way that salutes the pop-tune original but gives them a modern twist.  The lesser known “More Love” by J. Segal and the John Martyn’s title track are performed with a heartfelt delicacy that gives the listener the sense that they are hearing a classic tune and lyric for the first time.

Joining Arlen on the recording many of Chicago’s best musicians, including Neil Artwick, piano; Mark Beringer, acoustic bass; Phil Gratteau, drums; Ken Arlen, soprano and tenor saxophone; Mark Olen, trumpet and flugelhorn; Russ Phillips, trombone; David Young, muted trumpet; Richie Davis, acoustic and electric guitar; Steve Roberts, ukulele and electric guitar; Steve Ramsdell, nylon string and electric guitar; and Rich Stitzel, percussion.

Arlen’s debut recording, “Certain Surprise” is priced at $15 and can be purchased beginning Tuesday, Jan. 12 on Jessiearlen.com.