By Kira Grunenberg | Published October 2020
Allegra Levy’s Lose My Number isn’t breaking boundaries in its fusion of lyrical prowess and nine pieces of trumpeter John McNeil’s decades-spanning instrumental repertoire. However, quite a few of the record’s underlying creative decisions—one of which includes working with an all-female backing band—shaped Levy’s writing process and the music’s overall performance.
Many of the songs here exude distinctly contemporary thoughts or feelings, even when the works reflect old-fashioned sentiments or settings. “Livin’ Small” easily could apply to couples in love and down on their luck during any time period. Still, heard in the context of the current generation’s lack of attachment to property and its contention with a high cost of living, the song’s story of finding contentment with a minimalist’s mindset offers a bold level of empathy. Generally, Levy’s vocal character leans into a classic aesthetic, but how that quality manifests itself varies. “Samba De Beach’s” nimble rhythm combines with sections of jumpy vocal movement in the melody, affirming her performative talents.
Collectively, Lose My Number reverberates mutual respect and admiration, truly unifying two artists’ visions with finesse.
Lose My Number: Samba De Beach; Livin’ Small; Tiffany; Strictly Ballroom; C.J.; Dover Beach; Ukulele Tune; Zephyr; Lose My Number. (51:50)
Personnel: Allegra Levy, vocals; Carmen Staaf, piano; Carmen Rothwell, bass; Colleen Clark, drums; John McNeil, trumpet (4, 5); Pierre Dørge, ukulele (7).