I'm not sure if a gypsy's eyes are like Patti Ecker's, but I wouldn't be surprised. Gypsies are reputed to have a rascal's heart and when I see the picture on the back of the CD cover, I see rascal and maybe a bit more. The smile is wide, the eyes are mischievous and there is no doubt in my mind that she could emasculate every man-jack of us in a fell swoop. Well, maybe not, but there is likely more than a little drama in Patti Ecker because there sure is in her music.
I envision Ecker in a smoky lounge or on (or off) Broadway because she has a big voice, made for those venues. Of course, I'm influenced by her cover of Put the Blame on Mame. I can see in my mind's eye Ecker strutting across a stage, feather boa twirling and flipping while she vamps her way through the song, big time, before taking on Mame's dramatic eccentricities. Ecker can act, too. I know she can. You can't perform the song that well without being able to act, can you?
Regardless, I know what she can do. She can write songs. The blues and jazz are buried deep within her, and maybe that is why she has that aura of the stage. It's not just the standard blues and jazz, either. She toys with '20s ragtime and dixieland with Okay For You (Hollywood's conception of F. Scott Fitzgerald screens on my inner eyelids every time I hear it), You Missed Her visits the Carribean ('50s style), musical theater loves songs like the jazzy Too Close, Too Soon (let's face it, you have to love a song which rhymes "moon" and "June" without making you cringe), and there's my personal favorite, Baby's Got the Blues. Ecker pulls out the stops on this one and surrounds herself with just the right amount of blues and jazz, and let's hear it for the ensemble. Even on the '50s-influenced Gypsy Lover's Eyes, they have the touch.
Yes, let's hear it for the ensemble. Ecker gathered some really fine musicians to help her with this. Rocco Phipps and Marc Edelstein are outstanding on the upright bass, Gordon James floors me with his jazz piano, Steve Doyle slides on that guitar, and, and… I like it better when artists use a finite number of musicians because it's easier to pass the praise, but what the heck, let her use as many as she wants. It works, and that's what counts.
Ecker, if you're listening, take this for what it's worth. There aren't that many people out there who can embrace musical theater and make it work. I believe you can, and it would be one hell of a lot easier on you than sucking down blue clouds of smoke in some basement speakeasy. I'm sure you could do both well because you did it well here, but man, I would pay good money to see you do a couple of sets of Baby's Got the Blues tunes. If you head that direction, I'll be the one at the counter swilling down martinis with three olives. Just pour me into a cab when you're done.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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