By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Eeg + Fonnesbaek
Danish vocalist Sinne Eeg is quite well known and appreciated in Scandinavia, Japan, China and throughout Europe. But until a recent tour along the West Coast and Southwest, she remained under the radar in the United States. This, her first American album, should change that.
Her partner here is bassist Thomas Fonnesbaek, a superb instrumentalist who has been featured on more than 100 albums. Yes, that’s correct: a marvelous jazz vocalist accompanied solely by an acoustic bass ... and oh my, how they swing!
These nine songs include half a dozen from the Great American Songbook, such as “Willow Weep for Me,” “Body and Soul,” “Come Rain or Shine.” Fonnesbaek composed “Taking It Slow,” Lionel Hampton wrote “Evil Man Blues,” and Enrico Pieranunzi contributed “Fellini’s Waltz.” Everything is performed in English — interestingly, Eeg’s usual vocal language — and her excellent scatting has no language barriers.
“I always loved singing duo with bass,” she has said. “It’s just a sound I like very much.”
So do I, and so will you.
Her voice is lush, and her phrasing flawless; her interplay with Fonnesbaek grooves perfectly. Both enjoy a lot of solo space, and Fonnesbaek is both a melodic and rhythmic master, using four strings instead of five.
The ballads are performed at their standard tempo, as opposed to mid-tempo or faster. Lesser singers sometimes resort to up-tempo arrangements, which can camouflage vocal flaws, but Eeg has none. She’s destined to be a big hit here.
I’m already a big fan.