Michele Thomas: The Assumption

Chicago-based singer compels attention through her edgy and intense delivery of standards, lesser-known songs and originals

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On this, her third album, Michele Thomas has selected her repertoire from standards and some lesser-known songs, as well as three on which she is credited with words and music: These Days, Plot And Stone and Dark.

There are also two songs for which she wrote the lyrics, one of which is John Coltrane’s Spiral, arranged by the session’s drummer Darren Scorza, and the other is Damian Espinosa’s I Know Because You Told Me So. Espinosa is also credited with I Carry, the lyrics for which are adapted from poetry by e.e. cummings.

Other songs are No More, by Hubert Laws and Jon Hendricks, and Love Dance, by Ivan Lins, Gilson Peranzzetta and Vitor Martins, both of which are arranged by Scorza, who also arranged Spiral and Steve Winwood’s Can’t Find My Way Home.

Thomas’s clear singing voice has an edgy quality, which when added to an always present intensity make her performances compelling. Throughout, there is ample space for instrumental soloists, among whom are trumpeter Jeff Hedberg on No More and I Know Because You Told Me So, on both of which saxophonist Chris Greene is also heard. Guitarist Neal Alger and keyboard player Chris Mahieu have several well-taken solos, some of them extended, for example on Spiral and Nobody Else But Me, on both of which bassist Clark Summers has his moments. In addition to his arranging, drummer Scorza is always subtly supportive.

Regarding The Assumption, Thomas states that the songs are about “our beliefs surrounding trust and love”. She says: “Because trust is the result of relationships and in order for trust to exist, we need to learn to create good relationships again.” Overall, this is very much a collaboration between vocalist and instrumentalists and should appeal to many.

Discography
No More; Love Dance; I Know Because You Told Me So; These Days; Plot And Stone; Dark, Spiral; Autumn Nocturne; I Carry; Nobody Else But Me; Can’t Find My Way Home (63.48)
Thomas (v, pc, kyb); Chris Mahieu (p, kyb, org); Neal Alger (g, except Autumn Nocturne); Clark Summers (b); Darren Scorza (d, pc, kyb); guests Jeff Hedberg (t, on No More, I Know Because); Chris Greene (s on No More, I Know Because, I Carry); Davin Youngs (background v, on I Carry). Chicago, 2020-2021.
MT Music