It’s a refreshing change of pace when a jazz vocal album isn’t a rehash of vintage American Songbook selections. All-original recordings aren’t common, so when one comes around, it’s a good thing. So it is with Come Over (Falloff Records, 2013) by Gina Kronstadt.

A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Kronstadt is a veteran, Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, violinist, arranger and producer. Kronstadt says she wrote the songs not with a record in mind but to express her own thoughts and emotions. “My own private therapy.” However, after a few musician friends heard five of the songs, they encouraged her to keep writing until she had enough material for this project.

The band consists of John Beasley, Rhodes; Christian McBride and Reggie Hamilton, upright bass; Gary Novak, drums; Luis Conte, percussion; Bob Sheppard, saxophone and woodwinds; and a 12-piece string section.

“Magic” kicks things off. This lively song quickly establishes Kronstadt’s vocal style, songwriting and appreciating for traditional jazz vocals. Sheppard’s tenor sax answers the vocalist’s calls with flair. The lyrics of the song can be taken as romantic, but it’s also a testament to the beauty of music. “The way you’re playing is like magic,” Kronstadt sings.
The title song is charming all around. Kronstadt’s lyrics of longing set the mood, aided by the slow, patient vibe. “Come over, come over / I’m missing you right now,” she sings. John Daversa contributes a muted trumpet solo.

The quirky “Twitter Stole My Boyfriend” begins with a monologue. Kronstadt laments a time when she was prepared to go out, but her boyfriend wouldn’t get up, instead opting to communicate with online friends. One verse, she gets quite frank: “So I been thinkin’ about you on and off this long, long day / and I just got home from a triple / thinkin’ about the way it used to be so good / but now your iPhone’s in your mouth just like my nipple.” The song would be funny if not for the fact that it speaks to the realities of many people who have found their personal relationships affected by their partners’ social networking habits. Kronstadt’s singing is dark and angry, while her accompaniment is cool, slick, groovy. Walt Fowler’s muted trumpet augments the piece.

Kronstadt’s singing, lyrics and songwriting come together for a very pleasing set of eight songs. Apart from Sheppard and the trumpets, there isn’t much room for instrumental solos. Still, the keyboard, bass, drum and percussion parts are solid throughout. And the strings enhance the overall experience. Come Over is a keeper.