“About Last Night” – Album by Leslie Vincent
Review by Joslyn Danielson
Femme-crooner and vocal powerhouse, Leslie Vincent, is gearing up to release her second full-length album, “About Last Night” on July 22. The album is a delightful conglomeration of songbook classics, jazz covers, vintage blues, and showstopping originals. Leslie Vincent brings jazz into the modern world with her topical, original lyrics and slight pop influences in the musicality, akin to artists like Norah Jones. Her covers include classics from Irving Berlin, Sonny Burke, Frank Perkins, and more. She adds a feminity and lighthearted energy that is contagious, bringing a new life to these classic standards. There are clear influences of contemporary jazz, bop, swing, musical theatre, and American Songbook standards. Leslie’s background in musical theatre shines in this album, as she draws on raw emotion and expresses the characters perspective in her vocal stylings. The band is top-notch and each player brings a layer that makes up a swingy, jazzy, big-band sound. In many songs, the instruments take their turns in the spotlight, ripping out complex jazz solos. Leslie’s mesmerizing vocals guide the album down a story of love, fun, heartbreak, and regret, and acceptance. A stand-out track is the original song, “Psychedelics With You”, written by Leslie herself. The song is dripping with big-band swing, with muted trumpet, stand-up bass, and fast-paced drumbeats. Clips of goofy laughter in the background transports you to a party in the times of Gatsby, making you want to slip on some character heels and go dancing at the speakeasy. With the lyrics, “I’ve just done psychedelics with you”, the song is a cool and modern take on the flapper lifestyle that was once too taboo to sing about in such direct terms. Danceable, relatable, and fun, both the trumpet and voice throw in jazz growls and slides. Leslies voice is sultry, versatile, and pairs well with the fast-paced swing beat. Some other songs on the album offer a more melancholy and romantic feel. Tracks such as “How You Loved Me on Mars” and “This Time The Dream’s On Me” take the tempo down for a more traditional jazz songbook ballad, focused on poetic lyricism. Leslie’s versions include lovely vibrato, soft piano backing, moody suspended chords, and rotating solos between the instruments in the classic jazz style. Leslie doesn’t shy away from the blues on this album, however. “Black Coffee” and “Icetown Blues” offer a grittier perspective, with moody minor key chords and raw vocal tones. They start off slower paced and then kick into exceptional jazz/blues solos from the trumpet, piano, drums, and stand-up bass. Leslie’s versatile voice dances up and down the register seamlessly. About halfway through the album she takes us on a trip into the world of vintage, cinematic jazz. A string section is added in on the song, “Stars Fell On Alabama”, with an intro that throws you into the world of early film soundtracks. It is romantic and theatrical, with a classical string-plucking interlude that perks your ears. “Laura” is an equally dynamic and cinematic song, with a twinkly piano intro that is almost a little spooky and ethereal. There is a lovely cello solo in minor key, until suddenly it picks up into a swingy, bossa nova beat. The song is a journey through iconic musical styles of times past. “About Last Night” will be the second full album released by Leslie Vincent, following her 2020 debut album, “These Foolish Things”, which garnered her attention in the local music scene. It is available for pre-order on her website. She also is offering limited-edition vinyl records, which seems like the correct way to enjoy an album of such delightful nostalgia.