CD Reviews: Ellen Ross - You Are There 

One of the finest jazz vocals recordings to grace the airwaves since its March 2007 release date, You Are There is an impressive attention-grabbing debut for Denver-based vocalist Ellen Ross. The singer presents a mellow and swinging sound with a selection of nine known standards given fresh new interpretations through creative new arrangements provided by Ross and pianist Paul Cotugno. Ross possesses a silky-smooth voice that reaches and caresses each note with a graceful elegance.

Her voice and phrasings of the lyrics comes against the backdrop of very good musical support from the players on the album. Pianist Cotugno anchors a terrific sounding quartet comprised of bassist Eduardo Bijoux Barbosa, Chris Lee on drums and the versatile Peter Sommer on tenor and soprano Saxes. 

Starting out with a nice introduction from Sommer’s tenor, the lady sings a beautiful lush rendition of Billie Holiday’s "Left alone," in which she is well accompanied by a stylish solo from Sommer. The group provides sizzling instrumentals on the swinging and lively "Let There Be Love," complete with some appreciable scatting from Ross in one of the best tracks here. The vocalist sings to the heart on the warm and light title cut supported by Cotugno’s gentle play on the piano in a sensational ballad.

We're all familiar with James Taylor s classic "Don t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," but this is a special arrangement by the pianist not to be missed. I simply loved Ross’ interpretation of the familiar "That’s All," full of fire containing a splendid piano solo. The singer voices the lyrics with emotion on the slow and soft "You Don’t Know What Love Is, where bassist Barbosa weighs in on a solo while drummer Lee plays the brushes.

Ross and the band swing again on the terrific "I Just Found Out About Love," with Sommer delivering another tenor shot in a moving pick up beat. The album ends with two more wonderful tunes in the romantic "I Haven’t Got Anything Better to Do" and Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love." No question about this one folks, one excellent session of light jazz voiced warmly by the smooth vocals from a jazz vocalist I expect to hear more of. Ellen Ros delivers an impressive and compelling first outing with You Are There, an album you will enjoy listening to from beginning to end.

-- by Edward Blanco,