Bassist Sadiki Pierre and vocalist Elasea Douglas make up Acute Inflections, a jazz combo whose music suspends the listener above the ground. The sparse instrumentation and a soulful, caressing pitch of the vocals present an eloquent delivery on their seven-track EP, The Brave. The duo remakes several pop favorites, including Nat King Cole’s “L.O.V.E.” and Prince’s “Kiss,” injecting traits of bluesy jazz, grooving R&B, and operatic tones into pop hits.
The pair’s rendition of “L.O.V.E” has a 1920s Jazz Age spring à la Fats Waller in the buoyancy of Douglas’ vocals and the syncopated beats of Pierre’s bass, though the modern sheen of the music gives it a contemporary shimmer. The grooving bass lines of “Latch” complement Douglas’ skill to move in sync with the rhythmic beats. Her vocal hooks give the lyrics a catchy phrasing, “You enchant me even when you’re not around … Now I got you in my space / I won’t let go of you / Got you shackled in my embrace / I’m latching onto you.”
Douglas’ vocals carry a sensuality in “Kiss” that seduces the listeners and elevates them off their feet. The bluesy jazz motifs gilding the pop tune enhance the melody’s finest features. The pair’s remodeling of Amy Winehouse’s hit single “Back to Black” has a fluidity that allows Douglas’ vocals to shine, as her notes soar to emphasize the hurt expressed in the lyrics. Their reimaging of Sade’s popular track “No Ordinary Love” is slow in pace and bluesy in tone. Douglas cradles the lyrics, holding onto poignant syllables, veering the notes to float upward and downward for the purpose of intimating strong feelings to the audience. She reaches an operatic pitch with a torchlight glint along the title track, then spreads gently across the melodic progressions of “Over the Rainbow,” creating a storybook-like eloquence.
The twosome’s debut release is an impressive recording. Eloquent, emotive, and clad in catchy syncopated beats, the music elevates listeners above the temporal plane and transports them into an empyreal state of mind.
Elasea Douglas – vocals and Sadiki Pierre – bass