Jazzy, folkish, bluesy, hipster and thoroughly contemporary vocalizations characterize Jacqui Naylor’s Shelter. Her latest is string-heavy, featuring plenty of organic licks from guitars, acoustic bass and cellos. Rhythmic quirks, as on the earthy sexiness of “Miss You,” recommend a melodious recording that doesn’t end up being merely balladesque with pushy jazz insinuations. This project has an aural personality of its own, blending beauty, serenity, and low-sizzled potency. Furthermore, the percussive undercurrents from the drummers, the bassist and the pianist bring out dashes of piquancy that keep the date from miring into verborrhea.
Although voyaging in search for vestiges of influences of all sorts into a musician’s craft can prove instructive and entertaining, such a trip alongside many current singers and instrumentalists is a monumental waste of time. By the time one figures out the debts and alliances forged by Naylor in the formation of her musical self, the point and worth of her singing and composing might be lost to the critical ear.
From poking fun at Puff Daddy on “Cheese Puff Daddy” to a Brazilian “Winter,” and on to diverse organic vehicles for engagingly sedate harmonic feasts, one can find solace and much more in Naylor’s Shelter.
Personnel: Jacqui Naylor: Lead & background vocals. Bob Johnson: Sax. Matt Brubeck & Marika Hughes:
Cello. Steve Erquiaga, Brian Pardo & Crag Green: Guitar. Art Khu & Michael Bluestein: Piano. Jon
Evans & Todd Sickafoose: Bass. Emiliano Benevides: Percussion. Jason Lewis & Jan Jackson:
Drums. John Scott, Pat Shanks & Tina Zenon: Background vocals.