Tracye Eileen began her professional career with the release of “Love’s Journey” (2012). She recorded the album shortly after studying at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago, where the school’s owner was so impressed with her talent that he briefly served as her manager, helping her hone her no-nonsense sound for her debut album. In 2018 he released “Why Did I Say Yes?” , closer to soul and R&B. In 2020, he released “It’s Time”, jazz with original themes. Eileen has always been drawn to great vocalists like Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone.
Her father was a professional jazz drummer who missed out on touring with Count Basie’s band because he was drafted to serve in Vietnam. Eileen performed with him many times.
“You Hit The Spot” is Eileen’s fourth release. It was recorded in two sessions: one live with a trio, the other in the studio with a sextet. Eight songs from the Great American Songbook, all of them love songs. “I’ve always been a fan of love songs,” says Eileen, “and I decided to reveal myself, because I want my music to be authentic and real with songs that people can connect with.”
The album opens with “I Love Being Here With You” one of the three songs with the sextet. Cheerful and lively song, where Eileen demonstrates her vocal power. The brass stand out and provide the big band sound the song requires.
The album continues with “You Hit The Spot”, the song that gives the album its title. Another happy and swinging song that he plays with the sextet, sounding like a great band. Garcia does some great trumpet solos.
The third song in sextet format is “The End of a Love Affair”, which is the eighth on the album. An elegant ballad, recorded by Wes Montgomery, Frank Sinatra, Julie London and Billie Holiday among others. Eisen on sax contributes to this song sounds beautifully melodic. The ending is the best of the song.
The five tracks recorded in trio format begin with “You Can’t Take That Away From Me.” Recorded live like the rest of the trio songs. Luxion, on piano, is the ideal complement to Eileen’s voice, which is seductive and playful.
It is followed by “Almost Like Being In Love”, to a bossa rhythm. Another elegant version in which the trio’s empathy with the singer is complete.
In “The Very Thought of You” Eileen shows us her intimate and slurred phrasing side. One of the best songs on the album vocally and instrumentally speaking. Eileen touches our hearts with the warmth of her interpretation.
In “Just in Time” she gives us another fantastic interpretation, full of sensuality and firmness, with a trio that surrounds her and shines remarkably. Another great moment on the record.
“This Can’t Be Love”, written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, serves as a showcase for Martin on double bass. Elegant theme where Eileen surprises us again with that playful way she has of interpreting.
The songs chosen for this album have been interpreted and recorded by wonderful artists but Eileen brings her own personality to them and rejuvenates them. This singer has that characteristic that few have: she sings and tells stories at the same time.
Regarding the accompaniment, I particularly liked the trio and live versions much more than the sextet versions with a big band sound. I think that Eileen shows her full potential when she accompanies herself in a small format and if it’s live, even better.
The album has a short duration, approximately 30 minutes, which leaves us wanting more.