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Ellen Demos featuring Mike Nielsen - Osmosis
EM 150
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2003-10-31
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Artist: Ellen Demos featuring Mike Nielsen
Title: Osmosis
Label: EM 150
Genre: Jazz/Vocals

When I listened to Ellen Demos sing for the first time I thought...she sounds like a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and Flora Purim. Her light as a feather vocals ring out clear and true on her release Osmosis. Her voice is the main instrument on this mosaic of jazz expressionism. Her partner and guitarist Mike Neilsen, provides a soft musical pillow for her lovely voice to rest on while Mike Buckley furnishes and compliments the atmosphere with his elegant tenor and soprano saxophones and blissful flute. It feels like she gets very comfortable with her musical backdrop as her emotionally charged scatting and vocal exercising brings life and color to every tune. The sheer enjoyment she is feeling singing is unmistakable in every song.

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The title track "Osmosis" and a track titled "Sea Journey" are Latin inflected compositions featuring Neilsen's delicate plucking and strumming, which is a perfect tribute to the Demos vocalizations. Neilsen's guitar journeys seem influenced by the likes of Django Reinhardt. Each of the two songs blends into each other effortlessly. I found it comparable to the roots of a tree sucking up the life force of water, then pushing the water to each individual leaf to sustain the entire organism, the organism being each track and the water Ellen's voice and Mike's guitar. The ironic thing is that people say it all the time as a matter of reference...you cannot get it by osmosis. How true that is when regarding beautiful music. You need to process it through your ears, mind and soul, and only then does it become clear what the message is. The definition of osmosis is-The diffusion, especially of water, through a membrane. I honestly had forgotten the meaning (it has been a long time since I had a science class), then I looked it up after I formulated my analogy of this music. That is a perfect example of how the message and meaning of the music reached me because I took the time to listen and assimilate it.

I found it very interesting how her take on two Jimi Hendrix songs, "Little Wing" and "Angel," totally captivated me when I had previously viewed the track listing and already had an opinion on what they may sound like. They are songs that I would never expect to sound very good outside the realm of blues-rock, she proved me wrong. Her voice is so impressive that she had me convinced that the song was specifically for her to sing. That kind of occurrence is not trickery, its pure magic and talent.

Ellen Demos is a fluid jazz vocalist with an enormous amount of potential to grow exponentially, I am most certain that she will. She has so much talent and command of her voice, I imagine she will go in a different direction with each album she records, and it may not always be jazz. Keep your eye on this shooting star.

1. You Don't Know What Love Is - 4:08
2. Uncorked - 6:09
3. Little Wing - 5:51
4. River of Tears - 5:42
5. Morning - 4:51
6. Round Midnight - 5:36
7. Osmosis - 5:44
8. Sea Journey - 7:15
9. Angel - 7:38

Credits:
Ellen Demos: Vocals
Mike Neilsen: Guitar
Mike Buckley: Tenor, Soprano Saxophones and Flute


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