Susan Krebs Chamber Band, “You Must Believe in Spring,” from Spring: Light Out of Darkness
Vocalist Susan Krebs has carved a niche for herself as one of the premier singers in chamber jazz, a hybrid style characterized by classical influences, intimate recording quality, delicate musical interplay and poetic lyrical content. She’s a silky-toned performer with an intuitive melodic sense and a literary way with words, and she’s been instrumental in ushering chamber jazz into the 21st century. In 1999, she released her debut album, Jazz Gardener, which examined themes of nature and art through original compositions and quietly reimagined standards. Her fourth and latest disc, Spring: Light Out of Darkness, once again adopts nature as its primary theme but offers a more refined vision of Krebs’ art. The music was developed at ThemeScene salons hosted by Krebs, in which she and her bandmates explored motifs of music, poetry and improvisation in front of a live audience. The album maintains that forged-in-the-moment quality and channels it into carefully crafted orchestrations. Their version of “You Must Believe in Spring” offers a balance of freedom and form, feeling buoyant yet weighted with meaning. Krebs’s voice emanates with a gentle glow, and a lovely interlude between piano, percussion, violin and clarinet at the song’s midpoint conjures the feeling of getting lost in the woods.