The singer/songwriter/trombonist Natalie Cressman has already had a whirlwind career and she is just twenty-five years old. Having been a key member of the Trey Anastasio Band Cressman has sung and played trombone everywhere from Red Rocks to Madison Square Garden and now she releases her newest EP titled Traces.
On past offerings, Cressman had focused more on her jazz playing but Traces melds together ballads/pop songs with electronic beats and mellow dance vibe; all supporting her terrific vocals. This combination of live music with electronica is nothing new, but the delicate touch that Cressman brings to the proceedings makes for an easy and entertaining listen.
Opening with “Radio Silence” Cressman puts words to her feelings of being a female instrumentalist in a male world while allowing for bumps of both her soft touch live band and electronic dance grooves before her own trombone really boosts the sound. While overall the vibe is relaxed perhaps a bit more power behind the breakdowns and dance groove would enhance the track.
“Winds of Whims” goes back and forth between a delicate ballad and skittering beats while “Love Is Blind” works more as a straight ahead light R&B effort. “Where We Started” is the most ambitious track on the EP and it is a vocal showcase as she ranges far and wide with her singing. When the song floats high and airy it works, but it also tries to dip tough and firm and it loses its bite; some more stomp would seal the deal.
Closing with the title track the EP wraps up pleasantly showcasing everything that Cressman was going for; unique instrumental breaks, positive light electro beats and a voice that can conquer pop, jazz, the jam world or whatever she decides to pursue next.