In Review: Contemporary Jazz Vocalist Calli Graver Releases Nostalgic Debut Album ‘The Sun’s In My Eyes’

After unsuspecting global hurdles delayed jazz singer Calli Graver’s debut album time and time again, no one is happier than she to finally present her musical journey of nostalgia, groove, and growth, titled The Sun’s In My Eyes. 

The Sun’s In My Eyes is the Philadelphia singer’s first album, but she has had an extensive career preceding this project, including performances with musical idols like Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin, and Andrea Bocelli. Her work with numerous symphonies and education in musical performance is mirrored within this project through the melodic intricacies and musical knowledge displayed in each song. 

Graver’s previous EP, Cheer, features holiday-inspired songs, and showcases her versatility and charm as a jazz vocalist.

Graver introduces her new album with a feel-good tune titled, “Something Good,” showcasing her clear-cut tone and impressive scatting abilities. The song is driven by a jazzy piano foundation performed by Luke Carlos O’Reilly, as she warbles about how the past can influence the present in the most positive of ways. The song is an energetic introduction to the feel-good album, and leaves the listener eager for what’s to come. 

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“In the Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” displays Graver’s ability to genre-bend, as she slows it down with Spanish-style guitar and operatic vocals. Guitarist and producer of the album, Ben O’Neill, romanticizes listeners in this tune with his nimble finger-style playing and attention to detail with each intentional note. This classic cover song composed by David Mann in 1955 evokes a sense of nostalgia, as the lyrics tell the story of lost love and the time of day that perpetuates the yearning feeling. 

Graver’s vocal control is lucid in “You Don’t Have To Try,” as she demonstrates her dynamic skills, vocal flips, and warm vibrato. The song acts as an ode to a passionate lover who possesses a way with words that has Graver entranced. The tune is definitely a head-bobber, and has the power to get listeners swinging and swaying with its bluesy rhythm. 

In the middle of the album, “The Sleep Of The Loved,” presents as a sweet lullaby with underlays of jazz piano and mellow percussion. The song acts as a feature for the many talented musicians on the album, as each performs a captivating solo throughout the ballad. 

“There Will Never Be Another You,” represents Graver’s true dedication to the art of jazz, as it is the most traditional of the songs featured on the album. The upbeat tune tells the story of the permanent endurance of past loves and the difficulty one faces moving on with new people. The song is broken up by a jazz breakdown that features an impressive piano solo by O’Reilly as the song crescendos into an emotional conclusion.

Nostalgia for the past is a main theme of this album, and “Make Our Way Home” discusses how the concept of “home” changes with age and growth. The emotional melody puts Graver’s vocals and songwriting at the focal point of the project as she navigates key changes and vocal riffs seamlessly. 

Graver concludes the project with the tune that the album took its name after, “The Sun’s In My Eyes.” The punchy song is an upbeat conclusion to a groovy rollercoaster of an album and features a tight bass-lead breakdown that showcases the incredible rhythm the musicians found with one another during this project. The song acts as a climactic end to a musical journey of unique tempos, styles, and stories. 

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