Got The Fever

Friday, April 06, 2007

Jeannie Bryson

Birthed from such noble pedigree, Jeannie was immediately gifted with magnificence, elegance and stateliness long before her any of us had heard of her. Her father is legendary jazz titan Dizzy Gilespie and her mother is the talented and soulful songwriter Connie Bryson. Too often the norm has been that children of such talent tend to lean toward the anemic spectrum of originality and artistic offerings. However, Jeannie is a giant of an exception to this truism.

Her thought placement while performing, her expert ability to tame or manipulate a lyric – to dissolve and evolve a mood – is a rare and magic talent. She continues to turn fluid any material to whatever shape and impression she wants to mold it into. And in the album I feature here, she would be hard to compete against in any of those arenas.

Déjà Blue
I’m just not sure how much more perfect, from a female perspective – hell, anyone’s perspective - an artist can weave a tale of misery and gloom, but somehow maintain a modicum of composure, dignity and restraint as can Jeannie with this rendition. Heady atmosphere, stunning arrangement and a vibraphone so sensitive and final in its clarity that it almost carries the song on its own back. Listen to the vibraphone taunting and reminding us, hammering in the finality of wretched lost love at the 1’48 mark. The modulation beginning at 2’52 is almost a deep breathy sigh before the next tears roll out to obscure the clarity of vision, affirming that even though one day a new love will be found and all will end up well, tonight, right now, at this very moment, she is mired and enveloped in the blackness that is searing sorrow.

Saw you again just yesterday.
I turned my head and walked away.
I couldn’t let you see me cry.
I can’t forget, Lord knows I try,
Can’t forget this love we knew.
Déjà blue.

You always said we never part.
But then you left and broke my heart.
It cut so deep the wound wont heal.
I can’t believe how bad I feel.
And I don’t know what to do.
Déjà blue

Hello, It’s Me
Originally penned by Todd Rundgren, Jeannie reaches into its gut, pulling the flesh inside out and reanimates the song in her own image. Through her soft intonations and well thought out delivery she has reinvented the meaning, turning it from a tenuous statement of inevitability to a wistful shimmer of hope that she truly knows deep down inside will never come to fruition. She is showing us that she is inventive and imaginative, but wholly idealistic.

Seeing you,Or seeing anything as much as I do you.
I take for granted that you're always there.
I take for granted that you just don't care.
Sometimes I can't help seeing all the way through.

Think of me,you know that I'd be with you if I could!
I'll come around to see you once in a while,
Or, if I ever need a reason to smile.
And spend the night if you think I should.

Con Alma/Am I Blue
The closing track on the album, and a soulful heart-stopper worthy of the mood of the album and the frame of mind she has established. The lugubrious cello is the molded concrete around your ankles that so forcefully tugs you into the swirling currents of despair. This anguish she so artfully paints in our mind - it is the overwhelming feeling of thunderstruck bereavement that one will not be able to escape when taken in the context of losing a love that has existed ripe in significance and brimming with meaning, but now has left a gaping chasm of solitude so wide that you feel that others can certainly see through your chest and right through your back to the scene going on behind you. Jeanie whispers so tenderly and sincerely to your soul, that to not shed a tear should surely bring deep shame to you and your inability to wholly share your heart.

Am I blue, am I blue?
Ain’t these tears in these eyes tellin' you?

Am I blue? You'd be too,
If each plan with your man done fell through.

Was a time I was his only one,
But now I'm the sad and lonely one.

Jeannie Bryson: Déjà Blue (31)
Jeannie Bryson:
Hello, It’s Me (33)
Jeannie Bryson: Con Alma/Am I Blue (18)
Déjà Blue [2001]

Visit Jeannie at her web site.
Visit Jeannie at her mySpace site.


  • Beautiful. Turn the lights down low.
    Hello It's Me is just a great song, love the Isleys version too and of course Todd's original.

    By Blogger Darcy, at 7:13 PM  

  • darcy - couldn't agree more! Single malt scotch, no other surrounding distractions, just you and your soul staring into each other. Deepest and honest thoughts punctuated by Jeannie's lovely testimony.

    I'm just not sure how it gets any better in the context of the material.

    By Blogger wzjn, at 7:20 AM  

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