About four bars into the opening track of Elaine Dame's Comes Love I suspected she hailed from the Midwest. Blessed with such purity of sound that clarions could take lessons, Dame expresses the same wide-open honesty-sunny as a Kansas cornfield, sturdy as the Chicago skyline-at the heart of Doris Day, Ann Hampton Callaway and so many other of the region's finest. Indeed, the classically trained Dame was raised in Michigan and, after a fruitless decade in L.A. pursuing an acting career, settled in Chicago to focus on a Callawayesque hybrid of jazz and cabaret.
Dame's clarity is matched note for note by her imagination, as variously demonstrated by the heated urgency of her "Yesterdays," the gently assured satisfaction of her "From This Moment On" (the sweet sentiment of which is typically buried beneath too much thunder) and the soft-purring, postcoital glee of her "How Long Has This Been Going On?" Comes Love wouldn't, though, be half as enjoyable without the masterful handiwork of core accompanists Jeremy Kahn (piano), Rob Amster (bass) and Tim Davis (drums)-three guys utterly, perhaps psychically, in tune with the strengths of the voice they're carrying-or the vivid flourishes of violin (the great Johnny Frigo), trumpet (Art Davis) and flute (Dame herself) that color the album's edges.