Jamie Younkin Press
“Sultry vocals, tight harmonies…
If you like Diana Krall, Peggy Lee and Joni Mitchell,
Jamie Younkin is for you!”
Rob Pedrick, Brevard Live Magazine, July 2018
The JW Vibe
The title of Jamie Younkin’s debut album Did It Anyway sends a gleefully defiant message to all of the mainstream musical norms she dynamically transcends on an album that is ultimately the perfect soundtrack to a dreamy, romantic evening full of artfully re-imagined standards and sweet gossamer originals. Is she a trumpet player who sings or a vocalist who plays trumpet?
It’s the same question we still ask about Chet Baker, and we ponder a bit in thinking about smooth jazz great Rick Braun’s recent discography. Yet it’s refreshing here because she’s perhaps the first female impactful enough to prompt the question. Here’s one writer’s answer: Jamie’s sensual, ethereal voice is the emotional hook, but it’s her trumpet – used a full collaborative voice, not simply a gimmick or occasional solo instrument – that lingers in the heart long after each tune wraps.
After receiving her Ph.D in musicology from the University of Toronto, her career was committed to teaching and inspiring college students, conducting orchestras, bands and choirs and directing jazz big bands. Yet she still felt a voice was missing. Jamie has a whimsical response to the unique duality she has created with an ensemble of incredible Florida based jazz musicians: “There is something transformative about stepping out as a musician with your first album. It is a risky business. But before it is ever a business, it is a vocation and the voice in your heart will never stay quiet, never stop calling. I know it’s crazy. It might be ill-timed and it is definitely unwise, but…I did it anyway.”
Fans of adventurous vocal jazz that doesn’t sound like everyone and everything else will be grateful Jamie took the risk – and will definitely disagree with the “unwise” assessment! She starts out in familiar territory, doing the Chris Botti thing and offering her gossamer soul vocals over gentle trio arrangement (led by the stunning piano of Paul Tardik) at the start of “When I Fall In Love.” Just as we’re in full seduction mode, her dreamy, lyrical trumpet comes in – not simply as a solo but as that other voice, taking the next verse. It’s a stirring arrangement of a classic that makes it easy to embrace her rich artistic duality. She tackles a torchy, restrained, rock/blues arrangement of “House of the Rising Sun” a bit differently, embedding the trumpet almost as a call and response harmony line behind her vocals.
Jamie takes a stylistically diverse approach to her originals, slinking her way (with both voices) through a sexy Argentine beat on “Tango For One,” stripping down to just her and pianist Brian Gatchell on the wistful and melancholy “April Rain,” and getting back to a jazzy swing mode, lacing her lower toned vocals with sparks of trumpet grace.
She also gamely tackles two other jazz standard, putting her horn on full display for several minutes before the vocals kick in on “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and surprising everyone again by singing the original Swedish lyrics on a dramatic romp through “Dear Old Stockholm” - which has been covered well by everyone from Miles Davis to John Coltrane but never with Younkin’s unique elements.
Brevard Live Magazine
This month’s review is for the artist Jamie Younkin. CD titled, “Did It Anyway”. I, for one, am glad she did! This is an exceptional CD in the Jazz genre. This original effort (along with some traditional tunes) from Jamie Younkin is as smooth as smooth can be. She does voice and trumpet here. I have a 40 mile transit to work. Down A1A. This CD takes me to a place where I don’t notice the road rage idiots, stop and go traffic, texting while driving fools etc. Before I know it, I’m at my destination. How good is that?
I always start with the stuff that raised an eyebrow or two. First, the guitar solo starting at 2:12 on the traditional tune ‘The House of the Rising Sun,” track 2, just doesn’t flow with the song or the CD in its entirety. Too distorted/fuzzy for me and the wah ef- fect just doesn’t t here. The pentatonic is begging for bends, slides, flickons in a minor blues mode. The outro voice seems a little off key to me. In the tune “Woman in Gold,” the distorted guitar accompaniment seems too over the top for me especially during the outro at 4:35.
Enough of that. This CD grabbed me from the very first song, “When I Fall In Love,” track 1. This tune could be a soundtrack for one of the great classic musical movie sound tracks like Singing in the Rain, South Pacific, West Side Story, the Sound of Music, et al! Just brilliant song writing. The vocals will melt your heart. “Tango For One,” track 3, guitar tone is exception- al. The guitar solo starting at 1:32 and the trumpet solo at 1:50 are top notch. Track 4, “April Rain,” will take you to a place we all remember. The piano solo at 1:44 will actually make you hear an approaching rain storm building to a climax then subsiding as the storm passes. Excellent song writing.
On track 6, “Dear Old Stockholm,” the band really showcases its prowess. Excellent solos starting with Jamie Youkin’s fine trumpet playing. Then the rest of the band chimes in on this finger snapping tune with their own solo expertise. Piano, guitar, drums and bass just absolutely smoke this tune! Another great effort with track 7, “Sunday Starlight” Sultry vocals, tight harmonies, great guitar, bass and drums. Trumpet and piano solos never hit a wrong note. Strong outro. The interplay between voice, piano, and trumpet on the last tune, “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” is as smooth as silk. A lot of duet stuff going on. A great ending tune to a great CD.
This is a CD you put on after a hard work day. You kick off your shoes, pour a tumbler of your best single malt on ice and reflect on life. I’ve never listened to a more soothing smooth CD as this. If you like Diana Krall, Peggy Lee and Joni Mitchell, Jamie Younkin is for you!
“A rural gal that dreamed of a musical career while mucking out stalls in Wyoming, Younkin takes her inspiration from Chet Baker as a singing trumpet player delivering the kind of off-beat performance that would make Baker proud. Recorded in Florida with a bunch of jazzbos well-deserving of wider attention themselves, this traditional set hits all the right notes leaving the listener quite satisfied with a new jazz experience. Tasty stuff throughout.”Chris Spector, Midwest Record, July 2018
The Jazz Network Worldwide
“Love the opening of “When I Fall In Love” soft tender vocals as well as the fluid sound she blows into her trumpet that expresses Younkin’s interpretation of this evergreen tune”.
Jaijai Jackson, The Jazz Network Worldwide, 2018