The most interesting aspect to Elly Kouri's I Love You Too Much is the interplay between very strong pianist David Pearl and Elly's own smooth, sexy, convincing presentation. It's not that Pearl's ham-fisted, not a bit of it, but the guy plays like he never had a moment of doubt in his life, clear and confident in every note. And Kouri doesn't just encant upon great choices from the American Songbook and beyond, she caresses and makes love to the lines and notes, wrapping around them as though we're looking in on the denouement of a seductive pursuit or a tryst in progress.
The odd thing is that the platinum-haired Elly started out as a rocker with the group Citizens and played well-known punk palaces like CBGB's. You'd never guess that from the slate here. She toured for a decade, put out two CDs, and then quit to raise her kids, returning to music years later to surprise herself with a deep enamorment for older jazz musics. There's something to be said for just jumping into the deep end of the pool in order to groom up one's savvy to eventually arrive home, and that's what occurred in her life. Dave Alvin and others discovered the exact same thing.
Kouri's backing trio is on the beat from jump, unusually muscular through Pearl's leadership and sounding more like a fivesome. The contrast against Elly's romantic refrains, then, is striking but perfectly natural. When Linda Ronstadt recruited Nelson Riddle for some of the torchiest jazz musics ever made, sending the mode through the roof, people became a bit too accustomed to orchestras being drug in to lush things out. Sure, it'd been done before (think CTI), but Ronstadt & Riddle set the mode in stone. Nevertheless, discs such as Kouri's are really where it all came from. Ask Billie Holiday…though the uptake in this disc resets the clock by taking things forward without missing any of the basics.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles