Album Review of
Lovesome Thing (feat. Emmet Cohen)

Written by Joe Ross
April 18, 2021 - 2:41am EDT
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Heralded by the New York Times as “one of the next generation’s cabaret showstoppers,” jazz vocalist  Anaïs Reno has chosen to make her recording debut with twelve tracks of splendid Great American Songbook material from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn dating from 1931 (“Mood Indigo”) to 1956 (“U.M.M.G.). With a single phrase, Reno can recall Ella Fitzgerald, and that’s an amazing thing for a young woman who’s still a Manhattan high school student studying music, theater and performing arts. The daughter of a classical violinist and former opera singer, Reno chose this classic material to interpret because it’s where she’s at musically and personally. Lovesome Thing is an enchanting album that she herself admits is “a little sad, a little blue, a little romantic.” Opening with a moderate-tempo’ed “Caravan,” she sings “This is so exciting, you are so inviting. Resting in my arms. Thrill to the magic, the magic of your charms.” The album’s theme is certainly the mystique it conveys, the songs’ character and the singer’s charming delivery.  

While her expressive vocals, affability and charisma are certainly in the forefront, piano/arranger Emmet Cohen along with Russell Hall (bass) and Kyle Poole (drums) provide just the right accompaniment on this sophisticated disc. Some colorings of Tivon Pennicott’s sax or Juliet Kurtzman’s violin appear on a few tracks. I call tell that this poignant music has become very personal to Anaïs Reno as she breezily sings numbers like “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing,” “It’s Kind of Lonesome Out Tonight,” and “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues.” They’re songs she’s no doubt already performed on stage, and she obviously feels very comfortable and confident with their melodies, textures and statements.

Anaïs Reno professes that her main influences have definitely been “more dead singers than living singers,” and she credits Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Hartman and Carmen McRae for her inspiration. Anaïs Reno has gotten past any self-consciousness she had as a child into the “old stuff,” and she makes no apologies for loving classic jazz. That’s why I see this very talented, up-and-coming singer really going places. It’s great to see young people invested in this material. Songs like “Day Dream,” “Lush Life,” and “I’m Just a Lucky So and So” may well become the story of her own life as she embarks on a successful career as a performing, recording and touring jazz singer. Remember the name “Anaïs Reno.”  I’m not versed in French, but I believe it’s pronounced “"Uh-NAY-uss.”  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)