Throughout its existence, Verve has particularly excelled in recording most of the fiercest chanteuses on the planet. Billie, Ella, Sarah, Dinah, Nina, Betty, Abbey, Shirley, Dee Dee, Cassandra, Diana - so off-the-iconoclastic-genius-meter that we refer to them on a strictly first-name basis. These are the true chanteuses; the rare ones who could sing anything (jazz to blues to pop) and who owned everything they sang.
It's 2003 and fierce young chanteuses are hard to find. Fittingly, Verve has signed 23-year-old Lizz Wright. The most promising of a very short list, this Georgia native has been singing since childhood. A minister's daughter, Ms. Wright naturally started out singing gospel in church. By the end of high school, she was heavily into '70s black pop and drum 'n bass. For the last three years, the artist has been polishing her star in Atlanta's vibrant neo-soul/jazz underground scene.
On May 13th, Verve will release Ms. Wright's debut album, Salt produced by Tommy LiPuma, Brian Blade, and Jon Cowherd. Ain't no half-stepping here: The backing musicians including Blade, Danilo Perez, and Chris Potter are Gen-X all-stars; the repertoire, an eclectic blend of jazz/pop standards, five Lizz Wright originals, one song written for her by Blade, and one Broadway showstopper. Salt reveals Ms. Wright to be uniquely blessed with a mellifluous, full-bodied contralto, emotionally-nuanced phrasing and an intuitive ability to swing.
Strong enough to transform Flora Purim's high-stepping Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly" into a sly 'n slinky, neo-soul groove. Fearless enough to remodel both Stephanie Mills' immortal rendition of The Wiz's Soon as I Get Home" and the late Mongo Santamaria's Afro Blue." Open enough to flow from jazzy Latin-soul slo-drags ("Goodbye", The End of the Line") to AC-friendly folk-rock ("Lead The Way", Silence"). Genius enough to work her self-penned title song into a dope R&B/blues homage to Donny Hathaway.
This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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