For her debut jazz outing--previous releases include concept albums of lullabies (the Parents Choice award-winning Baby Mine) and sacred music (Be Still My Soul)--Walsh made it a family affair by tapping husband Thomas Zink to produce and orchestrate Pretty World. While the record consists entirely of lovingly selected covers, Joe DeRenzo composed original lyrics to instrumentals by Pat Metheny (So May It Secretly Begin), Keith Jarrett (My Song) and Don Grolnick (Pools), which added a unique element. To maintain authenticity, Zink, who played piano, keyboards and synths, recruited gifted musicians who had performed together while backing Sergio Mendes, including guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, bassists Carlitos Del Puerto and Jerry Watts, percussionist Tiki Pasillas, and saxophonist-flautist Gary Meek, in addition to multidimensional bassist Brian Bromberg.
The first track from Pretty World gaining radio spins across the nation, Chove Chuva is a cool swinging version of the Mendes original, perfect for frolicking by the beach in the summer sun. To mark the album release, Walsh performed with her band Sunday night (June 14) in Sherman Oaks, California at Spazio and will take the stage backed by a quartet consisting of Bromberg, Pasillas, Zink and drummer Chris Wabich on Wednesday night (June 17) at Spaghettinis in Seal Beach, California.
Reviewers have been lavishing praise upon Pretty World. Below are some of the highlights.
Urban Network: With her latest release, Pretty World, she (Walsh) has padded pure and barefoot into a spellbinding universe of impeccably selected songs from the realms of Brazilian-kissed jazz. The result is the most impressive contemporary approach to balancing compositions deserving of wider recognition with standards as has been rendered in many a velvet moon. Most outstanding are three originally instrumental songs that were lyricized by Joe DeRenzo... Each song is impeccably arranged... This is simply the most refreshing contemporary jazz vocal album of the year.
Smooth Jazz Therapy: Anne Walsh has sublimely captured the concept of this planet of ours as a beautiful place to be. Her voice is as clear as a bell and as she joyously interprets a range of songs that span the decades; the entire collection is blessed with a luscious string section and picture perfect production from husband Thomas ZinkWalsh navigates this wonderful amalgam of buoyant Brazilian jazz grooves and poignant heart tugging ballads with total aplomb yet the fact that three memorable instrumentals have been given original lyrics, written specially for Walsh by Joe DeRenzo, simply adds to the creativity of this refreshing piece of work... Anne Walsh is on a fast-track to stardom.
Sounds of Timeless Jazz: the dynamic song stylist gives these tracks her best shot and wows listeners with versatile phrasing, poignant interpretive skills and multi-octave vocal prowess. Walsh is accompanied by some of the best musicians on the jazz scene today The Portuguese version of My Favorite Things is one of the best songs on this recording. Walsh sings with ease and emotion over beautiful orchestration and accomplished saxophone accompaniment by the great Gary Meek and brilliant bass work by Brian Bromberg. Overall, Pretty World surpasses the standards Walsh set for herself on her previous recording(s) and should delight her new and existing fans.
Jazz Weekly: Her voice is as sweet as sugar cane, yet with enough huskiness to give some push to the lyrics. An impressive debut for a lady whos got excellent taste and knows how to flavor a tune.