A true artist can have many talents: the ability to drive a narrative, invoke emotion, paint a picture (literally or figuratively), and get a message across to their fans. One trait I am especially fond of is the ability to transport their audience somewhere else. It is one thing to go back into the recesses of my memory, but a whole other ability to be shifted to a completely new venue outside of my own experience.
I do not know if that is what the Chicago based singer, Elle Casazza set out to do with her debut EP, For Your Pleasure, but it happened on my first go round. And the second. In fact, every time I put on this album, I am transported to a nightclub, which can be awkward when I’m driving on my morning commute to work. I imagine it will eventually lead to this exchange with a police officer:
“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“Because Don Draper sitting in my passenger seat sipping on an Old Fashioned somehow violates our local open container laws?”
Tangential pop culture references aside, this EP is a dazzling array of jazz and folk with a dash of funkiness. Between Casazza’s classic vocals, and her backing band’s sway, the five tracks take me to a dark, cocktail table laden room off of Lake Michigan. From the swinging self-titled opener, to the gossamer and folky “Foolish Ones,” and the funk-filled “Fine Be That Way,” I feel like I am served up a delicious plate of jazz-pop tapas, all locally sourced and originally cooked, er, written.
Her name may be on the billboard, but the Elle Casazza Band brings a lot to the table as well. Jon Gould shifts from classic guitar to chopping chords and soulful solos with expert care, Ben Dillinger walks his bass through some muddy grooves, and Jarad Kleinstein keeps crisp time with staccato drum beats. And to round things out, Sarah Blickensderfer offers some haunting and subdued violin to the background of “Foolish Ones.” It really is fun to hear some true professionals getting the job done.
If you’re looking for a wide angle of classic sound, original tracks, and want to spend less than $5 on it. Look no further. Elle Casazza has the cure to what ails you. Check out her bandcamp page to get a copy of For Your Pleasure. I bet you’ll enjoy it, but make no guarantees as to where it will take you.