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What Love Is

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Album Review

Wisconsin native Erin Boheme was only 18 when she found herself recording for the house that Carl Jefferson built: Concord Jazz. Some people who heard What Love Is, Boheme's debut album, questioned whether or not it belonged on a jazz-oriented label; truth be told, this 2006 release has as much to do with jazzy pop as it does with jazz. But even though Boheme is by no means a jazz purist, she is clearly jazz-influenced — and besides, the late Rosemary Clooney was a fixture at Concord throughout the '80s and '90s despite the fact that her specialty was jazz-influenced traditional pop rather than hardcore vocal jazz. So stylistically, this crossover effort (which is best described as traditional pop meets vocal jazz meets adult contemporary) isn't inappropriate for Concord. If Boheme is a crossover artist at heart, that's fine as long as she strives for quality — and this is a pleasant, if undeveloped and mildly inconsistent, debut from the Midwestern singer. Concord was obviously hoping to reach the Norah Jones crowd with What Love Is, which makes sense because Boheme's vocals hint at Jones in addition to hinting at Billie Holiday. Boheme favors a sweetly girlish approach, although she seems to be aiming for some of Julie London and Peggy Lee's sultriness as well. And even though her performances aren't breathtaking, Boheme shows herself to be a likable singer on a CD that ranges from a few Tin Pan Alley warhorses (including Sammy Cahn's "Teach Me Tonight" and Cole Porter's "Let's Do It") to Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason" to several tunes that Boheme co-wrote. This is by no means a bad album, although it is the work of an artist who still has some growing and developing to do. All things considered, Boheme is worth keeping an eye on.

Customer Reviews

Promosing Debut with Definite Potential

OshKosh Native Erin Boheme's sweet, sultry tone may not appeal to all and her model-good looks could cause jazz enthusiasts to critique her talent with skepticism. Rest assured, Boheme's talents prove that she has the chops to hang around the scene for years to come. Her single "One Night with Frank" intriguingly weaves together song lyrics from old blue eyes to tell the story of a fictional/fantasy encounter with him (Boheme co-wrote the song). The beautifully-arranged standard "Let's Make the Most of a Beautiful Thing" best showcases Boheme's true vocal potential. Another Boheme original (one of several)"Make you Happy" is the album's highlight with it's playful lyrics and Erin's seductive vocals that bring life into an often aloof and technical Jazz World. However, Boheme falls short on the Chapman soul/pop classic "give me one reason" sounding out of her depth. Additionally, another one of her originals "Someone to Love" sounds like any ordinary Jessica Simpson/Britney Spears over-produced Pop ballad (this track should be ignored by jazz fans). Necessary Tracks (in order of importance): "Make You Happy" "Let's Make the Most of a Beautiful Thing" "One Night with Frank" Pleasant/Mediocre tracks: "What Love Is" "Anything" "I Love Being Here with You" "Don't Be Something You Ain't" "Let's Do It" Tracks to Ignore: "Someone to Love" "Give Me One Reason" Want MORE songs from Erin Boheme?? Check out the Billie Holiday "Lady Sings the Blues" 50th anniversary Book which is accompanied with a free 10-track CD featuring Today's artists performing Billie Holiday Classics. Boheme gives an excellent, playful reading to the Holiday standard "Them There Eyes." The Book (with accompanying CD) is available at Barnes and Noble (and possibly other stores).

*****

Purchased her single (Track 2) a few months back and couldn't wait for her album to come out. Her single almost sounded like Renee Olstead; it was sung well but I knew she could do a better job. She had to bring out her true style and tone in the album, I thought. Although I was expecting more jazz, the album hasn't let her down...it did her justice. Pop, jazzy, sophisticated and classy. Watch out for this girl...she'll be making waves soon enough.

Yowza

This girl can NOT stand up to the best (or even mediocre) jazz singers on the scene today OR yesterday... She is completely manufactured, and it pains me to think some people are falling for it as "jazz". Her voice is thin and souless, the arrangements are plodding, and the originals make my ears cringe. For those looking for REAL jazz, check out Tierney Sutton or Roberta Gambarini. For those looking for successful cross-over jazz from young up-and-coming artists, check out Erin Bode, Lizz Wright, or Sara Gazarek. For those looking for terrible frankenstein jazz, check out Erin Boheme, Sophie Millman, and Renee Olstead (although the latter 2 at least have notable singing voices...) AVOID THIS PURCHASE!

Biography

Born: Oshkosh, WI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Oshkosh, Wisconsin, native and jazz vocalist Erin Boheme was only 18 when she released her debut album on Concord, but her pursuit of a record deal started long before that. Boheme sang from an early age, and her parents encouraged her musical pursuits. With her mother, Susan, the young singer was just 15 when she flew to Los Angeles to meet with managers and labels. Nothing ever came of that, however, and Boheme remained in Wisconsin, singing at weddings and graduation parties. In 2004, after reading...
Full Bio
What Love Is, Erin Boheme
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