Singer Thea Neumann brims with feminine spunk in a class solely ruled by jazz music’s finest vocalists. Her latest recording Lady & the Tramps features guitarist Clint Pelletier, pianist Chris Andrew, bassist Kodi Hutchinson, and drummer Sandro Dominelli as they canvass a range of American standards from Cole Porter’s simmering ballad “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” to the boogie woogie stride of Thelonious Monk and Jon Hendricks’s “In Walked Bud” and the Latin swing springs of “Convenience Store.” Neumann’s renditions pulsate with the heart of a true jazz troubadour and the deftness to deliver scat with the genuineness of its harbingers.
The soft kindle of “Vancouver” pervades a moonlight shimmer in Neumann’s timbres as her voice floats above the band changing her wingspan on Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn’s pop classic “Makin’ Whoopee” to a kewpie doll lilt. The relaxing gait of “Dream a Little Dream” is harnessed in a gentle rumba rhythm as Neumann’s vocals cradle the lyrics with an alluring possessiveness when she sings, “Stars fading but I linger on dear / Still craving your kiss / Ya, I’m longing to linger till dawn dear / Just saying this / Sweet dreams when dreaming.” She switches to a daydreamy frequency in “Dear Someone” which has the tenderness of Ariel from “Sleeping Beauty”. Neumann ventures into the soft pop sphere with “How to Disappear Completely” displaying a vocal elasticity comparable to the genre’s most prized songstresses. She takes on cabaret jazz with Cole Porter’s “I Love You” fringed in verses of scat that glisten smoothly on her vocal glides, meanwhile plunging into jumpy blues with the swinging vibrations of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” to finish the album as she delivers it with the gusto of a signature number.
Every track has something loveable about it, or maybe Thea Neumann makes that feat possible. A native of Edmonton, Canada, Neumann’s foray into the jazz arena began with the release of First Time Out in 2004 which she recorded with the Grant McEwan Jazz Band, an official outfit of the University of Alberta. From there, Neumann became the lead vocalist for the Rodney Whitaker’s Jazz Band and went on to perform at the 2006 Detroit Jazz Festival, SXSW Festival and several Canadian Folk Festivals. Steadily, Neumann generated recognition as a jazz vocalist with the class and spunk that her brethren could admire and emulate. Her star is just beginning to rise.
Thea Neumann – vocals, Clint Pelletier – guitar, Chris Andrew – piano, Kodi Hutchinson – bass, and Sandro Dominelli – drums
Convenience Store, I Love You, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, In Walked Bud, Vancouver, Dream a Little Dream, Makin’ Whisper, Dear Someone, How to Disappear Completely, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen