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  • Jonathan Widran

SAN GABRIEL 7, Under The Stars

Formed by trombonist and JPL spacecraft engineer Jim Lewis in the 2000s, the multi-faceted, high energy horn fired funk and jazz ensemble San Gabriel 7 has, over the course of over 10 albums since 2006, lived up to its trademarked motto: “Music the Way It’s Supposed to Feel.” Somewhere in the mid-2010s, they blissfully evolved from an inspired and eclectic instrumental only band into a unit whose driving purpose seems to be glorifying the great, sometimes underrated female jazz vocal talent among us.

After impeccable, joyful sets spotlighting the singing and songwriting of Ingrid James, Femi Knight, Andrea Miller and Katie Campbell, SG7 started their 2022 with the simultaneous releases of three thematically connected EPs – These Women in Music Are More Than Standard (featuring James), Passionate About the Blues: Women in Jazz (featuring Knight and Miller) and Women Celebrate Latin Jazz (featuring James, Knight and Miller).

The ever-evolving band’s latest female spotlight coup is getting multiple award winning Danish sensation Sinne Eeg – considered the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in Scandinavia – to bring her sensual cool, soul-powered swing magic (via alternately sweetly endearing and powerfully soaring vocals and wordless vocals/scat wizardry) to Under the Stars.

If somehow you’ve yet to hear the multi-talented, jazz based but truly genre-transcendent singer/songwriter’s dozen solo albums, this collection is a prime place to make a fun and fanciful introduction you’ll never forget. A grand initial entry point is her bustling “Rocket Blues” where her sparklingly inventive scat becomes one with the ensemble’s always fiery horns; this tune is also a great place to experience what SG7’s soloists are capable of, with pianist Chad Edwards and the whimsical clarinet of Alex Budman holding court.

Those eager to hear Eeg’s more romantic vibe will delight in the sweet lyrical waltz “I’m in the Mood For Love,” the tender “I’m Feeling Good” (about the transitory nature of love), the dreamy and exotic bossa tinged title track and the hypnotic blues/R&B jam “Getting Along With Love,” which includes backing vocals from Miller. Among many other brilliantly played and insightful gems, one of the singer’s most clever narratives is the charming and intimate ode to “The Barista.”

Though she’s currently a precious import, let’s hope that Eeg becomes part of the regular rotation of female marvels fronting the fire as the San Gabriel 7 struts its stuff moving forward.


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