Jaclyn Guillou heads the right way with The Lover’s Walk
The Lover’s Walk (Independent)
Jaclyn Guillou is a work in progress. Then again, who isn’t? At least sophomore album The Lover’s Walk indicates that she’s progressing in the right direction by injecting traces of her folkie origins into her new life as a jazz singer. We’re particularly fond of “The Road”, which is clearly rooted in Joni Mitchell’s midcareer output. Yes, it’s derivative, but since the albums Mitchell made between Blue and Mingus are among the high points of western civilization, we’ll cut Guillou some slack.
Elsewhere, though, Guillou relies too often on the jazz singer’s cliché of elongating notes the way a saxophone would, which tends to obliterate the meaning of whatever’s being sung. And it’s hard to tell from this live-in-the-studio effort whether she’s got a fairly small voice or she wasn’t well served by her microphone.
My suspicion is that there’s more to this vocalist than we get here. The Lover’s Walk is more of a teaser than a fully mature work of art, but Guillou’s already got the bones of what could become a truly personal style.