Ms. Nicole weaves an intimately contagious web of love and passion. She returns this time with award winning multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas
, Evan Flory-Barnes
, and D’Vonne Lewis
for the incantation of romance that truly sets the tone to escape the chilling reality of today’s landscape. “Thomas, Barnes, Lewis evoke emotions of surrender that cannot be denied” —Mercedes Nicole
Chanteuse Mercedes Nicole as her fans and other noted reviewers dub her, literally ushers in a timeless and relentlessly evocative new project that indeed embodies the universal language of love in all its magnificent layers from playful flirtations, brokenness and pain to untampered passion. Ms. Nicole went with two rhythm sections. Her new band, featuring Jake Sele
on both piano and B3 Hammond Organ, Bassist Evan Flory Barnes, and Kevin McCarthy
, Drummers Brian Kirk
, and D’Vonne Lewis, Flamingo Guitarist Jerry Wirkkala
, and Thaddeus “Thad” Turner an electrifying Soul guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas-Tenor & Alto sax & trumpet, and with guest appearances by veteran Craig Hoyer
, piano and Yun-En Li violinist.
Mercedes crafted this sextet with “men she found, experienced, electrifying, and intuitive.” She wanted the freedom to explore sound, and room to simmer, and laugh out loud if she wanted to. It was about their sensuality, and spontaneous combustion. Having no idea that a pandemic would sweep the face of the earth, Ms. Nicole’s goal was to create a buoyancy sound that would relax the listener into a self-embodied flow where sound became the vehicle that transported one out of madness. “I wanted to give these guys room for their sound to be heard-and yet ride those sounds, those sensations with the flow of harmonies, that tantalizes the senses.
On “I Can’t Make You Love Me” Mercedes stands in that preverbal mirror allowing the melodic and spell binding piano playing of Craig Hoyer, pull down the public mask we all hide behind, exposing the pain and necessity of taking hold of desire, if just for the moment, and releasing it for a lifetime. Evan Flory-Barnes, harmonic plucking on the double bass, is even more riveting as it is cushioned in the enchantment of the echo and phrasing of the Yun Li’s violin.
You can feel the buoyancy of laughter bubbling up from “I ain’t Got Nothing but the Blues—Duke Ellington
’s humorous viewpoint of the world at large and Rich Man Blues"—a Dinah Washington
’s delight. Ms. Nicole faced the magnificence of the larger than life classics, “Stormy Monday," There is Something On Your Mind," and The Thrill Is Gone” with captivating tenderness sophisticated sultry glow that steals your attention away from whatever may plague you, so that the brilliantly soulful organ solos, take on a life of blissful immersion into memories you may have long thought you’d forgotten.
This Bitter Earth" embodies the soberness of the times, although Ms. Nicole had no way of knowing what the times would truly be. This Dinah Washington classic, beautifully rendered by Jake Sele’s piano solo and Yun En Li’s violin accompaniment allows Mercedes voice to soar, tender and triumphant, sounding the call for self-reflection. On her original co-written track, by Nicole and Tomack, “Your Love” Nicole reports the entire studio personal danced in their seats during play back. From the arresting classical guitar opening, to the vibration of the bass and syncopation of the drum, it’s a journey of rhythm and affirmation that makes your body move, ending sooner than your heart wants you to. The CD erupts to an end with James Howard’s Path of the Mystic," an explosive call to action—dialed in by the veteran, world traveled drummer, Brian Kirk, with brilliant syncopation just grabs you by the throat and demands you pay attention, “Be the Change You Want to See in The World,” which challenges us all.
About Mercedes Nicole
This is Mercedes fourth CD. Mercedes Nicole—grew up singing in the Black Church. Mercedes has a distinctive soulful, yet childlike innocence that melts into warm sultry vocals. She has performed in New York, Los Angeles, and all-over Western Washington, in both small and large venues. Mercedes began writing her own music and in 2018 she was awarded a female Composer Award from the Artist Trust Organization based in Seattle Washington for her own compositions, then Blues caught her ear, and pulled at her heartstrings. This is her first Blues/Jazz Mix and certainly not her last. Her dream is to sing at Lincoln Center, be signed to a label that has the respect of the international Jazz Community at large.
My father loved the blues, Mercedes recalls, but I was afraid of it. There was so much crying and lying. There was so much of ‘who did who wrong’ and shaming and blaming. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it, then life happened. No one I knew wanted to admit they messed up, or that they were taking for a ride. No one wanted to admit they had flaws and took a wrong turn, but then I started seeing the beauty of pain, and the world through the singers eyes, and authenticity the story telling the blues gave, and my blood boiled. If the great Duke Ellington could write, Ain’t Got Nothing But The Blues” then I could at least relate to it and sing it.
Mercedes was mentored by the late grate Grace Holden, who she counted not only as spiritual advisor, but a close friend. Grace was a sounding board and someone I could come to and talk about my joys and my struggles with. “No matter what happens! Pay your musicians first” and don’t worry about the rest of Grace’s moto. Her brother Bruce Allen played saxophone and wind instruments are something she grew up loving, that and the drums.
Her first Jazz CD Beautiful Alignment
produced by Thomas Marriott had airplay all over the mid-west . I was very proud of that CD Mercedes states, Thomas was is exceptional leader and educator. His contribution as a musician and producer was priceless. Her second Jazz CD, self-produced project People are Talking
was a softly spun romantic project with the exceptional talents of Darin Clendenin, Clipper Anderson, and D’Vonne Lewis, Mercedes is a graduate of the University of Washington’s school of Social Work.