Tamuz Nissim ‘Echo Of A Heartbeat’ CD (Street Of Stars) 5/5

Whenever Tamuz Nissim sings, you’re immediately transported to a magical place. No matter what she sings, she is just so charming, you cannot but become enamoured with her lush voice, and her as a person.

With her third album, ‘Echo of a Heartbeat’, she once again delights us with her scatting and vocalese. The album includes covers as well as two original songs (‘My World’ and ‘Echo of a Heartbeat’), all of which she puts her own spin on it. She is joined by virtuoso and her long-time partner Giorgos Nazos on guitar, bassist Harvie S who needs no introduction, Tony Jefferson on drums and pianist extraordinaire James Weidman, who performed with the no less Abbey Lincoln.

Right from the first track, Jim Croce’s memorable ‘Time in a Bottle’, listeners are thrown into C-jazz. We can so easily imagine a smoky atmosphere where Tamuz Nissim would stand on stage and fill the space with her sultry voice. James Weidman offers us a lively solo before Tamuz ends the tune with some scatting, which is part of her uniqueness. She carries it through to the next track, in the upbeat ‘Fried Bananas’ and she is so good at it, you wonder why songs would ever need lyrics at all.

The mainly instrumental and original ‘My World’ offers a brilliant repartee between the piano and the other instruments and James Weidman shows us how easy it is for him to adapt to any style. Tamuz’s voice is so smooth and possesses that bewitching quality jazz divas are blessed with.

‘Just Squeeze Me’ is another instrumental take on the famous jazz standard. The bass’ low growl is simply a perfect fit and introduction to Tamuz Nissim’s scat and teasing vocals. ‘In the Melody’s Shade’ is a cool and smooth tune that includes a short velvety solo from the bass, while on ‘Groovin’ High’, one of Gillespie’s best-known hits, listeners are treated to more scatting and more bass display. The tune itself is particularly playful and Tamuz’s voice is coquettish. She has a real knack for tailoring her voice to the melodies.

On the title track, ‘Echo of a Heartbeat’, Nazos performs a solo guitar which is as trance-like as the beats of a heart. We can really perceive his sensitivity on this track and it is a bit of a pity we don’t hear more of him on the album. ‘Smile’, Chaplin’s final song from Modern Times, has to be my favourite track on the album. I so much enjoy Tamuz Nissim’s soft vocals, the warm guitar, the tempo and the song’s lyrics of hope.

There is musical empathy throughout the album. Tamuz exudes radiance; she is a profoundly talented singer who demonstrates a very expressive vocal palette. All in all, ‘Echo of a Heartbeat’ is an enchanting album which will put a smile on your face from the first listen.

Nathalie Freson