Pianist/vocalist Alison Crockett has spent much of the last decade working with a number of progressive soul and jazz artists such as Us3 and King Britt (of Digible Planets). Her professional career began after receiving her masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music, with her performing regularly at clubs in Philadelphia, D.C. and New York.
She hooked up with King Britt in Philadelphia and sang on the underground hit "Season's Change" for Ovum/Sony Music. This led to an invitation to serve as the lead singer for the influential UK acid-jazz group Us3, with whom she cut the 1994 hit "Get Out." Crockett continued to write and perform on the side during her period with Us3, and cut an EP in 2001 under the name Diva Blue. It took two more years before she would begin to work on her first full album, 2004's On Becoming A Woman.
On Becoming A Woman is a nice showcase of Alison Crockett's talents, and moves seamlessly from 70s grooves to smooth jazz to neo soul. Her voice is quite versatile and strong in low range, though is suffers a bit when forced into falsetto. The disc begins strongly with "Save Me," an Alicia Keys-like cut that bears a gritty acoustic 70s pop/soul sound and serves as the disc's best showcase of Crockett's singing. Though stumbling a bit on a breathy cover of Janet Jackson's "When I Think Of You," the album recovers with its best string of songs, including the jazzy "What We Do Now" and the Sade-influenced "Crossroads" and "UR." The material on the second half of the disc is more uneven, but has highlights with the midtempo "Like Rain" and "Alive." Special kudos for the overall sound of the disc must go to producer Teddy Crockett (Alison's brother), who creates a solid backdrop throughout for Crockett's compositions. Far from sounding low budget, the album is well-arranged and played and includes a number of nice touches such as Casey Benjamin's Fender Rhodes on a several cuts and Robert Landham's saxophone on "What We Do Now" and "Like Rain." A solid outing.
In 2007, Crockett released her second full studio album, Bare, to solid reviews.
by Chris Rizik