Jazziz Magazine names Tom Lellis/Avenue Of The Americas to "Critic's Best CDs Of 2006" list (Jan. 07 issue)
International Assoc. for Jazz Education Journal names Avenue of the Americas "Best Vocal CDs of 2006" (5/07)
Avenue of the Americas is the critically acclaimed singer, multi-instrumentalist Tom Lellis’s newest recording. Tom is joined by internationally renown musicians, Brazil’s Toninho Horta, Camaroon’s Richard Bona, Kenny Werner, Dave Kikoski, Jeremy Steig and others singing works by Pat Metheny, (For Better Days Ahead), the Yellowjackets (For Wisdom), Horta (Olinda Wind) along with his original lyrics and arrangements of the Beatles, Ashford and Simpson and U2 as well as his original music.
Blending a unique vocal style described as “irresistible” (JazzTimes) with jazz and Brazilian influences and world-class musicians Tom produces more of the kind of vocal music Singer Magazine and Jazzreview.com both called “a taste of paradise” and DownBeat states, “Tom Lellis has everything going for him”.
Several times a year I discover for my own listening pleasure someone new, (at least to me) whose artistry really catches my ear, engages my thoughts and feelings, knocks me back saying, “Wow, this is REALLY good. Where can I get some more of it?” This is one of those gems.
JAZZ IMPROV MAGAZINE
Jazz vocalist Tom Lellis is a purveyor of optimism. Feeling down and lonely? Then it might be a judicious and soul-satisfying move to break out Lellis’ new release, which carries forth the mark of excellence witnessed on his 2004 venture, “Southern Exposure.”
In sum, Lellis has produced yet another jaunty and especially pleasurable set. Toss your troubles by the wayside; the artist’s muse is therapeutically entertaining. Jazzreview.com
What a pleasure it is to hear a vocalist whose lyricism grows from his improvisational method, who sings with the instincts of an instrumentalist, and who has the capacity to add lyrics to previously instrumental works, which show intuitive musical understanding.
Avenue of the Americas is an excellent and sophisticated recording that draws on many contemporary strands of music-making, but with a jazz heart. CD Review: Brazzil.com
"This is a jazz singer that deserves a high level of attention due to the sensational plateau he has reached within his craft." eJazzNews
Amazon's review: 4 1/2 STARS
Avenue of the Americas - Tom Lellis
Saturday June 24, 2006 ★★★★☆ Standards and new works with a terrific, unique Latin Flavor
Tom Lellis is a man of many talents as he so well demonstrates on this fine new CD. Not only is he a fine and pungent vocalist, but he also is a strong lyricist, composer and arranger (he also just happens to be proficient on the piano, keyboards, percussion, voice bass, and whistle!). But the full flavor of this collection in the mixture of jazz with Brazilian and popular music comes form Lellis excellent arrangements of songs we thought we knew - until he makes the lyrics his own.
Lellis' voice is a bit of Mel Torme but no further comparisons should be made. His style is easy, relaxed and full of scat and improvisations and a well tuned ensemble and serves him well.
This is one of those recordings for easy listening in the evening watching the sun go down - and the fire come up! Grady Harp, June 06
Lellis has a superb feel for Brazil's subtle rhythms and harmonies, and his collaboration with Toninho Horta has been particularly memorable. Here, on “Olinda Wind,” Lellis uses Horta's joyful melody to celebrate playful rhythms, soft sea breezes, and the kind of dancing that melts your troubles away.
But the tour de force on Avenue of the Americas is the “Norwegian Wood” suite, in which Lellis manages to refer to sixteen Beatles songs in a brilliant tapestry of shifting colors and moods.
Lellis imitates nobody, and his passion is evident in every word he sings. Refreshing!