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Jazzmeia Horn: A Social Call

Angelo Leonardi By

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L'impatto di Jazzmeia Horn sulla scena vocale afro-americana ricorda quello recente di Cecile McLorin Salvant e di Gregory Porter. Già vincitrice nel 2013 e nel 2015 di due prestigiosi concorsi statunitensi, la 26enne cantante texana ha evidenziato in questo debutto le sue ricche doti: vibrante tensione emotiva dai chiari rimandi blues e soul, scura voce contralto capace di lucenti aperture di registo, esuberanza di fraseggio, buona maturità interpretativa.

Jazzmeia non fa mistero dei suoi modelli che sono quanto di meglio ha espresso la sua tradizione culturale: Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter e Abbey Lincoln. La presenza di queste grandi cantanti si avverte in vari momenti del disco, che guarda al passato con sincera adesione. Questo riguarda tanto la cantante quanto l'ensemble che l'accompagna in un palpitante straight-ahead jazz.

Il percorso musicale è fresco e variopinto. Nello swingante brano d'apertura —«Tight» un classico di Betty Carter —Jazzmeia impressiona per la scioltezza con cui dialoga in scat singing col sax tenore di Stacy Dillard; nel successivo «East of the Sun» mostra la varietà interpretativa di una veterana e nel conclusivo «I'm Going Down» piena padronanza sul terreno del soul. In quest'ultimo brano la cantante si stacca dalle passate (e simili) interpretazioni di Rose Royce del 1975 e Mary J Blige del 1995 imprimendo al tema una schietta e vivace tensione gospel.

Gli altri brani alternano febbrile virtuosismo («Social Call», «I Remember You») e intimo appeal («The Peacocks») con sperimentazione («Afro Blue») e appassionata denuncia sociale («People Make the World Go Round», «Wade in the Water»). Un debutto particolarmente significativo che annuncia la nascita di una stella.

CD della settimana.

Track Listing: Tight; East of the Sun (And West of the Moon); Up Above My Head; Social Call; People Make the World Go Round; Lift Every Voice and Sing/Moanin’; The Peacocks (A Timeless Place); I Remember You; Medley: Afro Blue/Eye See You/Wade in the Water; I’m Going Down.

Personnel: Jazzmeia Horn: vocals; Victor Gould: piano; Ben Williams: bass; Jerome Jennings: drums, percussion; Stacy Dillard: tenor saxophone; Josh Evans: trumpet; Frank Lacy: trombone.

Title: A Social Call | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Prestige Records

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