This is not simply a reminder of an era and album from the past but a solid and contemporary statement in its own right.

Sol Image Records/Antidote Sounds

Alison Crockett (vocals); Thad Wilson (trumpet); Paul Carr (tenor saxophone); Todd Simon (piano); Dana Hawkins (drums); Eliot Seppa (bass)

No recording date given

“A wonderful live recording from the vivacious Alison Crockett. This is music that is dear to the singer’s heart, and this is evident in her enthusiastic and vibrant delivery of these classic songs.

There is a rawness in the presentation of the material that is infectious and appealing, as if you were seated in the venue and hearing the performance as it was happening. The band is clearly having a good time, and Ms. Crockett sings as if her life depends on it.

If you’re looking for a relaxed set of standards, then this may not be for you. If you like the music up front, close, and personal, then this will certainly be an album you’ll enjoy, as Alison takes you on a journey that is very precious to her, recounting how she heard and learned these songs as a child.

Her father was a devout jazz fan, and music would be played in the household at all hours. Consequently, the young aspiring singer would hear these songs, among others, as she says, “on a continuous loop,” and so learned them from listening to them time and time again.

With her father’s record collection having an abundance of fine music, Crockett learned from the best. This is Volume 1 of a series of recordings that promises much, as Crockett delves into the music she heard as a child and selects albums from her father’s collection to perform them in her own inimitable style.

The first of these recordings features Chaka Khan, singing all jazz standards with an all-star cast, including Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, and Joe Henderson under the collective name of the Griffith Park Band.

The album was called “Echoes of an Era,” and here, Alison Crockett presents all of the titles from the original album and one more, Cole Porter’s “I Get A Kick Out Of You” from the live “Echoes of an Era Vol. 2” with Nancy Wilson on vocals.

For those of us who purchased the original “Echoes of an Era” with Chaka Khan when it was released in 1982, of which I confess to being one, the joy in hearing Crockett sing these songs is that at no point does she attempt to emulate Khan. Instead, she sounds like no one but herself and reminds us just how wonderful the album was that she chose from her father’s collection.

Crockett has an earthy delivery and a style more akin to Betty Carter, as opposed to Billie, Ella, or Sarah. She is not afraid to take risks with her timing and phrasing, adding an edge of excitement to proceedings. She scats with conviction and an innate sense of swing, and the way she pushes herself and her abilities is evident in her extended rendition of “All of Me.”

She takes an ebullient solo on “I Get A Kick Out You,” and the ballad tempo set by pianist Todd Williams is perfect for Crockett’s tender and poised rendition of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.”

Her diction and enunciation are perfect, keeping you hanging on to every syllable, and her phrasing has a sadness and edge that lends added poignancy to Fran Landesman’s lyrics.

Of course, the music would not swing quite so vehemently if it were not for the quintet that Crockett has put together. The rhythm section operates at a very high level and intuitively follows the vocalist when she steps out on one of her wordless improvisations, supporting the tenor saxophone of Paul Carr and trumpeter Thad Wilson with exceptional precision and good taste.

As well as playing some exceptional trumpet, Thad Wilson surely takes the honors for the best solo of the gig on Chick Corea’s “Highwire – The Aerialist.” He also takes on the role of Musical Director and deserves credit for some imaginative arrangements.

This is not simply a reminder of an era and album from the past but a solid and contemporary statement in its own right.