All Music / Review

Once a corporate singer (and provider of other corporate singers), Jan Eisen has taken on the mantle of an independent jazz singer in her own right. With this album, she shows off her vocal chops well, accentuating the clarity of her voice above all, and the ability to hold a note for extended periods of time. The songs chosen come from here and there within the realm of jazz history, touching on the American songbook as well as some newer compositions (she has a special place in her heart for Michel LeGrand's compositions, it would seem). The tone is that of a casual, upscale jazz club, with somewhat minimal accompaniment (not too many instrumental solos, though the backing band is quite a capable one). The band itself is a rather accomplished one, with Jamie Findlay (of the Acoustic Jazz Quartet) holding down guitar and production duties, Benjamin May on violin, Kendall Kay on drums, and Alex Acuna showing up as a guest on percussion throughout. The band tends to stay in the background however, leaving Eisen as the clear focus. Her voice is substantial, and rings out on each and every song. The sound can seem a little artificial from time to time, with the phrasing almost forced. However, that disappears quickly and the tone moves back to that of a simple song in front of a band perfectly in touch with the singer. Not a bad outing at all, and may be a harbinger of things to come as Eisen records more.

Joost van Steen, Host/producer Jazz & Blues Tour
with ASFM105.4 in The Netherlands

When you listen to Jan Eisen’s voice, in my opinion, it is always summer with a capital “S”! You know, her last name means in our neighboring-country Germany; Iron! Well the “Iron” in Jan is her strong vocal skill, choice of titles and arrangements. Next to that the great group of musicians make this “Summer” – CD a must have item in every jazz collection and I would like to attach a phrase from my program and playlist to this great product; JUST LEAN BACK AND ENJOY!!

Susan Lozinak

Jazz Songstress Jan Eisen, with her latest release Summer Me, Winter Me, has created the quintessential jazz experience. This dynamic CD was recorded, according to Eisen, “the old fashioned way, live.” There are no headphones, separate booths or overdubbing here. This is jazz, as jazz was meant to be heard and played, raw and spontaneous, in a small jazz club tucked away on a bustling city street.
Eisen, along with her accomplished quartet, and including special guest Alex Acuña on percussion, brilliantly create a spellbinding jazz experience like no other. Summer Me, Winter Me showcases Eisen’s sultry yet strong vocals on 15 timeless songs from the American Songbook. Greats like Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark,” to the Gershwin’s “Isn’t It A Pity” and Lorenzo Hart and Richard Rogers “With A Song In My Heart” to the title track, “Summer Me, Winter Me” by Michel LeGrand and Marilyn & Alan Bergman, are all respectfully represented here by the incomparable Eisen.

While these may be some of the more popular standards one might hear from the American Songbook, many are perhaps not as well known, but Eisen with her compelling delivery, gives such gems as, "Papa Can You Hear Me," “Deep Purple,” “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” to “Lullaby Of Leaves” and “Deed I Do,” a new life. Each one done with such relish and a simple beauty that captures their true essence, while at the same time, putting her own mark on them.

Summer Me, Winter Me is a magical experience, which is usually only felt in the intimacy of a jazz club. And Eisen has captured that feeling with raw emotion, vibrant energy and such pure chemistry with her band, that to listen to this beautifully engineered CD is to be in “the best seat in the house.”

Summer Me, Winter Me radiates as songstress Eisen puts her smokey voice to these 15 standards. If what you’ve been searching for is pure jazz unencumbered by re-recordings, overdubbing, or any other "bells and whistles," then this is for you. Summer Me, Winter Me is live jazz, right in your living room.

Bruce Von Stiers

There are jazz vocalists and then there are jazz vocalists. What I mean is that while there are some really good jazz vocalists, a few stand out way above the rest. One of those who stand out is Jan Eisen. She has shared the stage with such great performers as Carol Channing, Maureen McGovern and Bonnie Raitt. Jan has also recorded a couple of highly acclaimed albums. Now Jan has yet another album out to tantalize the ears of jazz fans. This new album has a seasonal type title. It is called Summer Me, Winter Me.

The album lasts a bit under an hour and contains fifteen songs. It was produced by Jan and Jamie Findlay.

Speaking of Findlay , he played the acoustic, nylon and electric jazz guitars on the album. You might know Jamie from either his work with other musicians like Brent Jensen or his own group, the Acoustic Jazz Quartet. The album also has Benjamin May on acoustic bass. May also plays the cello on two songs on the album. Kendall Kay is the drummer for the album. And as a special guest artist, Alex Acuna does all of the percussion for the album. Kay has played with various performers, guesting on albums like Alan Broadbent's Every Time I Think of You. And Acuna has guested on several albums and recorded a few of his own. At the time of this writing, he was touring with Lee Ritenour.

Jan starts out the album with a couple of Michael Legrand songs, Papa Can You Hear Me and You Must Believe In Spring. The first one show the higher range that Jan can reach in her vocals. The second song is soft and easy, with great guitar backing Jan's vocals.

Deed I Do is a crooner that a lot of vocalists have done. You can almost imagine a smile on Jan's face as she sings this fun and fluid song.

Cocktails For Two features strong bass backing Jan. She has a constant range on this song.

Jan does a nice job with the Rogers/ Hart tune With A Song In My Heart.

I hadn't heard Loving Me, Loving You, Loving Me for a while. Sometimes this song is done as a smoky torch song. Jan does it as a subtle, touching love song.

Jan tackles a couple of other of my favorite classic tunes. She sings Lerner and Lowe's On The Street Where You Live. A nice vocalization by Jan is supported by a decent bass solo. And Jan also tackles Hoagy Carmichael's Skylark. This one seems to be a favorite among jazz vocalists right now. Jan's rendition is something like the fourth or fifth I've seen on an album in the last year or so. Jan does a very nice job with this wonderful classic tune.

The title track, Summer Me, Winter Me, is a Legrand tune that is bouncy and fun. Jan provides some terrific vocals on the song.

Other songs on the album are Darn That Dream, Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine, Lullaby of Dreams and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. Deep Purple has a nice samba beat to it. And Jan sings a nice rendition of the Gershwin tune Isn't It A Pity.

Jan Eisen is a very talented jazz vocalist. With this new album, Jan shows why she is great demand for club dates, guest performances and appearances for such venues as the Jerry Lewis MDA National Telethon and the Catalina Jazz Series.

Scott Yanow
L.A. Jazz Scene

Jan Eisen has a large and very warm voice, influenced by Ella Fitzgerald without just sounding like a mere copy. Based in Los Angeles, she is joined on this impressive set by four of L.A.'s top jazz musicians: guitarist Jamie Findlay, bassist Benjamin May (who plays cello on two numbers), drummer Kendall Kay and percussionist Alex Acuna.

The most unusual aspect of Summer Me, Winter Me might very well be the pacing. Very little time takes place between any of the 15 songs, so one hears Jan Eisen going from number to number without much of a pause in the music. Only seven of the 15 tunes are over four minutes long and none exceed 5:28 ("Coctails For Two" is 1:45 ), so the performances tend to be concise. Ms. Eisen usually takes an opening vocal, guitarist Findlay has a short spot and the singer finished the selection before launching into the next tune.

That concept works quite well due to Jan Eisen's very appealing voice and the variety of the standards. Starting with the obscure "Papa Can You Hear Me," concluding with "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" (a Perez Prado insturmental hit that has rarely been sung), and including memorable versions of such songs as "Deed I Do," "With A Song In My Heart," "Isn't It A Pity," "On The Street Where You Live" and "Skylark," this is a very rewarding outing, with many of the tunes (including some unexpected ones such as "Deep Purple") flurishing from being given Brazilian rhythms. Summer Me, Winter Me, which is available from www.ajazzsinger.com is highly recommended. One gets the impression that Jan Eisen who excels in this sparse setting, could hold one's interest even if she recorded an entire CD a capella.

Edward Blanco
All Bout Jazz Publication

A new release from jazz vocalist Jan Eisen hits the streets this fall and by this reviewer’s first impression, should be well received. Summer Me, Winter Me is an all around enchanting album containing fifteen pop and jazz standards from composers the likes of Ira & George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer and Michel Le Grand to name a few. Recorded with no overdubs or technically enhanced audio, this project was done, as the liner notes states, in the “old fashion club style setting.”

The vocalist is accompanied on this recording by Jamie Findlay (acoustic and electric guitar), Benjamin May (acoustic bass and cello), Kendall Kay (drums) and special guest artist, Alex Acuna on percussions. Eisen’s sultry voice seems well suited for the repertoire here providing a graceful and elegant treatment of some well known tunes like the pop classic “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White,” “With a Song In My Heart,” “Darn That Dream” and many others.

I have a selection of favorite and note worthy cuts as follows: LeGrand’s soft and melodic “You Must Believe in Spring,” which the singer voices with emotion backed up by some fine chords from Findlay’s guitar. The sensuous duet with bassist May on “Cocktails for Two,” the very jazzy version of “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine,” the samba-shaded “Darn That Dream,” “On The Street Where You Live,” and the Latin-tinged “Deep Purple.” The title cut also left an impressive mark.

Immediately obvious to me was the fact that this is one lady that can belt out tune. Equipped with a lush and velvety voice, Jan Eisen can carry a melody in stylish fashion. An album of warm and gentle music, Summer Me, Winter Me, will succeed in putting a smile on your face with only one listen.

Label: One Take Productions
Year: 2006
Artist Web: www.jan@ajazzsinger.com



CD Reviews / Reviews
Date: Oct 06, 2006 - 08:00 PM
By John Gilbert

At the outset let me say that Jan Eisen is a superlative singer. She
approaches tunes in a no nonsense manner, sings on pitch and has clarityof tone and enunciation, which are the essential ingredients of a
seasoned performer.

"Deed I Do" comes back to musical life with Eisen's coolly swinging
vocal. This song has an infectious quality that lifts it above the

Jan Eisen gets it all in this superb track. A nice (Jamie Findlay)
guitar solo followed by Benjamin May's bass is a fitting addition to an
already excellent endeavor.

"Cocktails For Two" gets a new treatment from Eisen..Take that Spike

"Can't Help Loving That Man Of Mine" An undercurrent of sensual
electricity in the style of Miss Eisen shows another facet of this
capable singer.

"Darn That Dream" A Latin beat coupled with Eisen's fine vocal takes a
tune with an exquisite melody to new heights.

"Skylark" The lyrics to this Carmichael / Mercer gem are the epitome of
sophistication and urbane writing and Jan Eisen sings it with due
deference to the composers.

As it says in the notes this session was recorded live in the old
tradition, no fixing voices, no overdubbing or electronic jimcrackery,
and it works magically and your ears will bear witness to it.
5 Stars

Eddy Foy III
Executive Talent Consultant
Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Week-End Telethon

Now, with this new CD she has emerged as a delicious addition to the world of the jazz vocalist. Her breathy notes fall gently on the ears of her dedicated fans. I have had the benefit to follow the progress of this CD and I’m elated at the vocal splendor of the completed product.
Jan has assembled a superb group of players to join her in making the journey through a harmonious occurrence. When all is said and done Jan deserves a warm thank you for sharing her splendid talent with us all.

Eric “Mouse” Johnson
Mad Meese Music

In this age of sequencing and quantizing, and midi madness it was so refreshing to find music being made the old fashion way. The band played and Jan simply sang. They occasionally made eye contact and gave birth to musical magic. This inspired live performance was recorded in one awesome session with the exception of the percussion overdubs and guitar solo. Jazz lovers the world over will enjoy this mini concert captured on tape as a moment in time. Thank you Jan for bringing your music into my life.

Eagle Beach
Aruba, Netherland Antilles
Aruba Today Newspaper

The listening’s easy and rewarding, in the Divi Divi’s Red Parrot room thanks to personable and talented jazz vocalist Jan Eisen.
The singer who’s fast proven a welcome addition appears nightly. The Star’s repertoire is well-rounded with standards and delightful surprises such as Janice Ian’s “Jessee” plus Billy Joel tunes. It’s the jazz stuff, in the end, that lets one know he’s run into a rare talent on the way to a Divi Divi dinner. The lady is comfortable and then some with jazz and it rubs off pleasantly on patrons, too. News readers seeking a memorable evening should go right up to the piano and ask Jan to sing jazzman Evan’s “Waltz for Debbie”….You’ll be glad you did.

Dan McClenaghan
All Bout Jazz Publication

Some advice for jazz singers: record your disc as if it were a club date. Do it live in the studio; forget about headphones and separate booths, overdubs and tweaking stuff after the fact. Just do it, as they say. Let the music breathe. That's exactly what vocalist Jan Eisen does with Summer Me, Winter Me, and her music breathes deeply on this set of both well and lesser-known tunes from the Great American Songbook.
A long-time entertainer who started in the business at age nine, Eisen took time off to raise a family. But she's back in full Swing (note the capital “S”) with a marvelous band, making magic on chestnuts like the joyful ”Deed I Do,” getting a bit sassy on “Loving That Man of Mine,” drinking deeply from the jazz tradition with ”Skylark,” or grooving coolly on the title track.

The members of the band—guitarist Jamie Findlay, bassist/cellist Benjamin May, drummer Kendall Kay and percussionist Alex Acuna—keep a sustained, understated mood start to finish. Acuna's percussion leans things toward the Latin side at times.

Then there's the voice: Eisen's pipes have a silky smoothness and a ringingly clear intonation. And she has a way with a phrase: she sings of “breathing my name with a song” on “Deep Purple”—a 1960s top-ten radio hit by April Stevens and Nino Tempo. Jan Eisen and her band breathe a relaxed magic into the entire set on Summer Me, Winter Me.

George W. Carroll
The Musicians' Ombudsman

Delighted...This is my opening volley for such a profoundly gifted jazz chanteuse.. And, is she ever a sucker for great composing prowess
as she delves into the world of tune-smiths on the level of Michel Le Grand, Van Heusen, et al. I speak of California oriented jazz singer Jan Eisen....And, Uh Huh....I'm moved by her artistry!! Her new disc will help you view jazz singing from a whole new perspective. Jan's approach to her music is in a word encyclopedic & also certainly entertaining, captivating, & capacious. It 's possible that things can get better than this..But, only slightly!!

Glenn Astarita

Jazz diva Jan Eisen recorded this session live in the studio sans booths, headphones or added frills. That’s where recording engineer Dick Hamilton uses his ears and know-how to capture the quartet’s multifarious aspects in rather seamless fashion during this interleaving program of standards. Ex-Weather Report percussionist Alex Acuna lends his talents on various pieces within the context of this au naturale program. But it’s Ms. Eisen’s whispery vocals, awash with buoyant sensibilities, dynamism and prominent leadership qualities that provide the winning edge. She exudes radiance, while projecting warmth and sincerity by vocalizing atop her band-mates’ briskly executed swing vamps.

The Latin element weaves in and out here via the musicians’ breezy, acoustic-electric support. In effect, these pieces complement each other, where Ms. Eisen’s production adheres to a consistent stylization, enamored by her ability to sing standards in various octaves amid some scat maneuvers within various passages. On the samba comp titled “Darn That Dream,” the ensemble pursues an optimistic sound, engendered by Ms. Eisen’s angelic vocals. And in other spots, bassist Benjamin May switches to cello as a vehicle for complementing and driving home Ms. Eisen’s sanguine balladry. Nonetheless, it’s a continuous stream of zestful jazz music that equates to good cheer and youthful sense of innocence.

James Janise, 2002
Long Beach, CA

It’s good stuff, really good stuff. These performances on record and these performances in person tend to be a lot different and the electricity she generates is just outstanding.

Lee Miller
Producer, Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

We thank you for giving your time and talent to us, and making this year the very best possible and we look forward to seeing you with us again. You were Superb! Thank you again and continued success.

Michael Rydzynski
Irvine World News

The mellifluous sounds of straight=ahead jazz and bossa nova permeated the air as Jan Eisen and her musicians serenaded at the University Center. Eisen sounded easygoing, displaying a soothingly pure tone, in such numbers as “Like Someone in Love” and even the more up tempo “Come Rain or Come Shine”. She showed off her marvelous upper range to scintillating advantage in such selections as “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face“, in which she also revealed a greater expressive palette.

On electric guitar, Steve Cotter provided both a harmonic foundation and melodic interest, most strikingly in “The Way You Look Tonight” a song that ended unexpectedly but evocatively on the soft side with Eisen caressing her last words. Nice hearing somebody new singing the great standards.

Savior Fair Publication
Huntington Beach, CA

Jan Eisen is another impressive jazz musician. Jan is easily one of the most aesthetic and innovative weavers of melodies to be heard in a very long time. She creates a wonderful improvisational style around some of the most poetic and complex music and lyrics ever to be written.

John Bolivar,
USA Records

“Jan Eisen”- A quality vocalist-refreshing, thoughtful and serious, most enjoyable!”