Release Date: March 17, 2023
Label: Outside In Music
Beautiful Tomorrow is the sophomore recording from vocalist and trombonist Hailey Brinnel. When asked to define her style, the Philadelphia-based artist, whose sound is steeped in swing and bebop, describes her effort to move the genre into new spaces: “I like pushing the limits of the idiom, while staying true to jazz.”
Alongside her entrusted quartet with Joe Plowman on bass, Dan Monaghan on drums and Silas Irvine on piano, Brinnel presents her extraordinary comprehension of vintage material throughout this new enterprise, offering two original compositions and eight arranged standards. Special guest trumpeters Terell Stafford and Andrew Carson join the date as well as saxophonist Chris Oatts .
The release of Beautiful Tomorrow follows a milestone year for the multi-talent in 2021. That March, Brinnel released her critically-acclaimed leader debut I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, which reached #13 on Amazon’s New Release Chart and #44 on Jazz Best-Sellers. Fashioned by her warm and playful arranging expertise, the impressive collection features 8-tracks of early jazz standards. Later that June, Brinnel was named a finalist in the 2021 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Critics have regaled the budding talent for her versatile arranging sensibilities, which remain reverent to jazz tradition yet flushed with contemporary nuance.
Gleaned from the eternal optimist Walt Disney, Brinnel launches Beautiful Tomorrow fittingly with a reimagination of the Sherman Brothers classic “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, a show tune popularly known as Disney’s theme song after being commissioned by the entrepreneur in 1964. Brinnel’s treatment embraces a reduced big band sound with a full horn shout section, where polished and succinct solos from Oatts and Irvine sit at the heart of the glorious arrangement.
Two original offerings make up the early tracks of Beautiful Tomorrow, both stellar showcases of Brinnel’s clever and dynamic storytelling abilities. The mischievous “I Might Be Evil” walks listeners through a whimsical tale of confidence. Playful contributions from Irvine help communicate Brinnel’s message beyond the lyrical. Hard-driving swing on “The Sound” follows, a fast-tempo episode of breathless scatting which unites effortlessly with Irvine’s keys.
More divergent in its origins from the rest, “Walk Between Raindrops” reimagines the 1982 tune off Steely Dan member Donald Fagen’s first solo album, The Nightfly. Here, Brinnel substitutes Fagen’s original organ solo arrangement for her horn shout section, staying true to her mission to walk along the edges of the jazz frontier. Brinnel jokes that she tends to create “approachable” jazz. “I love making music that people can easily connect to, while still pus hing the genre into new spaces “
Brinnel gracefully interprets two well-known standards “Tea for Two,” with prolific input from special guest trumpeter Terell Stafford, and “I Want To Be Happy”, both written for the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette. On “Wayfaring Stranger”, a traditional tune that harkens back to the sounds of 1940s New Orleans, Brinnel offers a stunning vocal foray, tapping into her deeper register both vocally and on the trombone.
Though most of Brinnel’s musings on Beautiful Tomorrow are decidedly cheerful, the warm-toned vocalist takes a departure with the languorous ballad “A Cottage for Sale.” Irvine, fluid and diligent, follows Brinnel as she leads the venture, a parade of the quartet’s synergy.
Brinnel’s veneration of the piano trio format is most evidently brought forth on the playful and didactic “There Will Never Be.” Monaghan, Plowman and Irvine quickly establish a rhythmic phrase that, matched with Brinnel’s heartfelt phrasing, creates an unbridled sense of elevation and intimacy.
The album closes by the command of Plowman’s bass on “Candy.” The brief vocal/bass duet is sweet in every essence, acting as a lullaby to close the record while reminding listeners that tomorrow’s forecast is full of swing, tradition and most importantly, beauty.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
"It also provides a beaming optimism that suffuses the singer and trombonist's approach to music."
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
"Her love for jazz tunes of the 1930s and 1940s is evident, and she breathes new life into well-known standards." Read the full review in the March 2023 issue here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
“Hailey’s style remains true to the old-school, jazz tradition, while incorporating youthful, contemporary nuances.” Read the review here.
"The ten-track Beautiful Tomorrow is a harbinger of more success to come.." Read the review here.
THE ART FUSE
"Brinnel is a fine singer and an even better trombonist, but she’s better known for the former, and there are only a handful of trombone solos on the record." Read the review here
"The sophomore album from the singer and trombonist Hailey Brinnel, the 10 songs here certainly revolve around jazz, and welcome swing and bebop influences into the lively formula." Read the review here