If it seems we can feel the longing for love and connection in every sensual, soulful and intimate phrase emoted by veteran vocalist Susan Krebs on her exquisitely conceived and arranged album Daybreak, it’s with good reason.
Like many incredible albums created during the socially distanced pandemic era, the seven track collection – whose sparkling, sometimes off the beaten path set list rolls from the hypnotic, easy swinging seduction “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood” through a clever twist on “Stardust” that starts out hushed, then grows more whimsical - was sparked by the artist’s sense of isolation and the need to reach out to her longtime collaborators.
Choosing songs from a folder of sheet music gathered over the years, she began working remotely (from September ’20 through June ’21) with an ensemble of jazz greats she affectionately dubs “Mixed Remotions” – a crew that includes the set’s three primary arrangers, woodwinds master Doug Walter, pianist Rich Eames and vibist Jerry Kalaf, who artfully underscore Krebs’ romantic expressions with their exquisite harmony parts and thoughtful improvisational solos.
Also on board for the remote sessions and the single, fully vaxxed live studio session are woodwinds player Rob Lockhart, percussionist Scott Breadman, bassist Dominic Genova and guitarist Riner Scuvally. Under normal circumstances, it might not be necessary to list the entire crew but beyond Krebs’ always inviting vocals and pinpoint phrasing, the heartfelt connections she has with these guys is not only essential to the project but in many ways, Krebs’ emotional survival through the time of lockdown.
Other noteworthy gems include a brisk waltzy romp through “How Little We Know,” a moody, exotic “Daybreak” and a lyrical meditation on “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”