Ashley Locheed and Chris Rottmayer refine classics on “So In Love”

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“So In Love” is the latest recording by singer and pianist duo Ashley Locheed and Chris Rottmayer. The pair is joined by Keith Wilson on drums, and Chuck Archard on bass. “So In Love” was released Sept. 4, 2020.

“So In Love” finds Locheed and Rottmayer performing re-arranged (usually by Rottmayer) versions of jazz and pop classics by artists such as Christopher Cross, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk and others. The sounds are soothing, classic and crisp.

A bit about Ashley Locheed and Chris Rottmayer

Locheed is a vocalist, bandleader, and recording artist. Her recent successes include performing at the Musica per i Borghi festival in Umbria, Italy as a headliner, with the Perugia Big Band. She also performs internationally with The Ashley Locheed Quartet. Locheed has toured with two-time Grammy winner, Michael Bolton. In addition, she has dueted and sang backup for icon Engelbert Humperdinck.

Rottmayer is the instructor of Jazz Piano at the University of South Florida. He is also pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rottmayer’s professional endeavors include having been a freelance pianist since 1990, and a pianist for Walt Disney World since 1999.

“So In Love” by Ashley Locheed and Chris Rottmayer

The talents combined on this recording are both singular and beautifully collaborative. There is a smoothness that seems to embody the confidence that each seems to posses. The songs seem framed, as if a narrative. The “story” of each song becomes clear as “told” by Locheed’s impassioned, smoky voice. Her instrument features a low register, but it is not breathless, or otherwise distracting. Instead, it winds its way around each measure with grace. Rottmayer’s piano serves as the perfect frame for Locheed’s voice.

“So In Love” the single, by Locheed and Rottmayer

The title track is the duo’s take on the Cole Porter classic. A deep, rumbling, but nimble bass opens the track and underscores Locheed’s voice (in a higher range). The clacking of drums plus the bass, creates a danceable beat. Rottmayer’s piano showcase is bright and inspired. Locheed’s diction mixes well with Porter’s wordplay. The overall sound is classy and delightful, a must-listen.

“Sailing” by Ashley Locheed and Chris Rottmayer

The gentle feel of Christopher Cross’ original is maintained here. In fact, the tone and feel created on this version is even more tranquil. Locheed sings as if she has to choose her words carefully. Her voice on this track is all sinewy earnestness. Around her, the bass stretches and chops, the piano and drums tinkle and clack, evoking water and reverie.

“So In Love” contains much to recommend it. Locheed and Rottmayer are a stellar duo, supported by other top-notch musicians, they bring new definitions to already classic songs.

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