Reviews and Testimonials

At Bluewater Bistro:

"I was in the audience along with my wife and two friends who had invited us up for dinner on Thursday evening, June 30th, when you were performing with your group at The Bodega Harbour Lounge.

I had not seen you before, knew nothing of your background -- but I was very impressed with what I heard.

I purchased two of your CDs that evening -- one for our friends and another to take home. Since then I have played the disc several times. It is superb -- musicianship and vocals. And you have created some nice songs. Not only that but the recording and engineering is very well done, as well. It's such a pleasure to suddenly come across something as good as this."
RD (Composer/lyricist -- ASCAP)

Brulee, New Beginnings

by: Susan Frances

The pair of vocalist Julie Weiner (now Crystel) and keyboardist Doug Onstad form the jazz-pop ensemble Brulee. The two perform to showtunes perfection on their latest release New Beginnings comparable to the voluminous voicing of Patti Lupone for Weiner and the refined nuances of Stephen Sondheim for Onstad. Joining Weiner and Onstad are a wide selection of musicians from accordion player Dennis Hadley and oboist Daniel Celidore to violinist Gus Garelick and pedal steel guitarist Dave Zirbel......(Read entire review)

Brulée: the Crème of the Crop in Jazz?

May Chan

A duo puts a new spin on a genre with ‘New Beginnings.’

I don’t listen to jazz unless you count Norah Jones, but Brulée has piqued my interest with its new album, New Beginnings.

Hailing from Sonoma County, Julie Weiner (now Crystel) and Doug Onstad make up the Brulée pair that brings to life old songs that may not see the light of day unless you were a jazz buff.

Track three, for instance, Julie and Doug reinterpret the classic Hoagy Carmichael song, “Skylark.” With Julie’s warm vocals and Doug playing the piano in a dreamy state of melody, the slow song does not feel too bogged down even when Julie is absent halfway through the song. Hoagy Carmichael would be proud.

The whimsical “Tout Doucement” listed as the track after “Skylark” is an early favorite from the collection. Maybe there’s something about it being in French, but it was exceptional the way Brulée sang it with Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’”

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JazzTimes CD Review: Brulee - New Beginnings

05/07/11 • Albums • By Wilbert Sostre

The changes from pop to swing on the first track "The Miracle of Love" should give you a hint about the odd but effective fusion of jazz and 70's rock in Brulee's music. The phrasing and harmonies of Julie Wiener (now Crystel) and Doug Onstad duo on "Perfectly Flawed" brings memories of groups like The Carpenters and The Mamas and the Papas.

Most of the songs are originals, but the release also includes some classics like "Skylark", and "Summertime". The arrangement and nice scats by Wiener on "Summertime", along with the original "Dance with me" is the closest this duo gets to a traditional jazz sound. "Dance with me" also has all the elements of an American Songbook standard...

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