Sinne Eeg is likely the finest contemporary jazz singer you’ve yet to discover. While the 40-year-old Dane, regularly ranked foremost throughout Scandinavia, has recorded seven previous albums as a leader, Dreams is only her second Stateside release. Still, it’s an ideal point of entry, a stunning showcase of not only her intoxicating style, which suggests the cashmere embrace of Nancy Wilson paired with the sharp interpretive skills of Shirley Horn, but also her songwriting acumen.
Of Dreams’ 10 tracks, four are covers, including a gently inquisitive “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and a downy “I’ll Remember April.” Eeg’s lilting “Falling in Love With Love” proves a sterling showcase for her estimable bandmates: Americans Larry Koonse (guitar), Scott Colley (bass) and Joey Baron (drums) plus her fellow countryman Jacob Christoffersen (piano). And a jagged, scat-kissed “Anything Goes” is refitted for the 21st century with references to fake news and Russian influence in matters presidential.
Eeg shines even brighter across the originals. Love is the predominant idea: The “relationships-are-work” theme of the opener, “The Bitter End,” is counterpointed by the tenderness of “Love Song,” a valentine to her husband, and the playful romantic confusion of “Head Over High Heels.” But the standouts are Eeg’s wordless, free-floating title track and “Aleppo,” a quietly powerful, deeply stirring ode to Syrian children so devastated by war-torn strife that they can no longer cry.