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Carmen Lundy: Jazz and the New Songbook

Jim Santella By

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Carmen Lundy
Jazz and the New Songbook
Afrasia Productions
2006

While watching Carmen Lundy sing her new songs at the Madrid Theater in Los Angeles, you begin to feel as though you're a part of her circle. With friends all around her on stage, the singer delivers her program with the kind of intimacy that you'd expect to see between friends. Yes, she brings you in and welcomes everyone into her musical world.

The cameras capture her concert from several angles, providing a clear view of Lundy and her ensemble. Several of the musicians rotate seamlessly between numbers, so that we get to watch them all in action during the course of her performance.

The focus, naturally, is Carmen Lundy, dressed in an elegant black pantsuit and communicating with band and audience from center stage. She prefers a microphone on a fixed stand for this concert, which means that she's not moving all over the place. Instead, we get an emphasis on the music and on this lovely singer's message.

I love the way the overhead camera captures Lundy framed by the string quartet. And later, in Act Two, the way the frontal camera captures Lundy singing "Afrasia! with backup singer Krystal Davis Williams isolated right behind her.

She sings her songs comfortably with genuine passion. Solos from Bobby Watson, Steve Turre, Robert Glasper, Billy Childs, David Roitstein and Mark Shim add an immeasurable touch of grace to the program.

These are her songs. They're not the usual standards that we've returned to time and again. Each selection comes with built-in emotional appeal that gets into your psyche, as she employs natural hand gestures that add considerable emphasis to her vocal delivery. With this DVD, you get the best of both worlds: exquisite sound and clear video.

Carmen Lundy is unforgettable.

Tracks: In Love Again; One More River to Cross; Something to Believe In; Better Days; Where'd It Go; Wild Child; Afrasia!; Happy New Year; Long Journey Home; You're Not in Love; All Day, All Night; Walking Code Blue; Send Me Somebody to Love; Old Friend; (I Dream) In Living Color; Firefly; Vu Ja De.

Personnel: Carmen Lundy: vocals; Robert Glasper: piano, keyboards; Billy Childs: piano, keyboards; David Roitstein: piano; Curtis Lundy: acoustic bass; Nathan East, Kenny Davis: electric bass; Phil Upchurch: guitar; Victor Lewis, Marvin "Smitty Smith: drums; Mayra Casales: percussion; Steve Turre: trombone, conch shells; Bobby Watson: alto saxophone; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Krystal Davis Williams: background vocals; L.A. String Quartet: (Michelina Wright, Albert Romero: violin; Catherine Lamb: viola; Rachel Arnold: cello); master of ceremonies: Father Peter F. O'Brien S.J.

Program Notes: Directed by Richard A. Salazar; Approximate running time 1 hour 55 minutes. Special features include: interview and documentary; photo gallery.

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