Alice Lee – Could This Be Love

Alice Lee
Could This Be Love

Combining the slinky rhythms of the more popular Brazilian styles with the chord changes and sky-reaching crooning harmonies of 70s R&B stars like Stevie Wonder, Alice Lee has a general appeal that is at once artful and commercial. The softly mutated genre-fucking leaves me at a loss to call the music anything other than jazz; especially since Lee’s vocals are appropriately versatile yet retaining a signature clarity that makes it easy to categorize her as a jazz-vocalist, placing virtuosity and soul over innovation or lyrical content.

“Could This Be Love” features a scat solo followed by a stand-up bass responding solo and yet still comes across as sophisticated lounge music despite these impressive moments. Indeed, Lee’s compositions (she writes the majority of parts for all of her songs, including piano and guitar) often have breezy arrangements like this, akin to Henry Mancini or Burt Bacharach, but this quality is tempered by her sensual urbane delivery. Occasionally she sounds so self-assured that the music becomes cloying, but usually a tasteful balance is maintained between emotion and artifice. Don’t misunderstand, her music won’t make you “get down;” it isn’t perverse, it isn’t awe-inspiring, and it doesn’t rock. But if you are looking for a gift for your coffee-shop music-loving girlfriend/boyfriend/Mom/Dad’s .mp3 player, this is quite suitable.

I feel strange endorsing something sponsored by Maybelline (gotta’ pay rent somehow I suppose), but as far as “easy-listening” goes, you could do worse.