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Laurin Talese: Gorgeous Chaos

James Nadal By

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True talent, like water, will rise and seek its own level. With a lifetime of readiness and recognizing opportunity, vocalist Laurin Talese brings a natural sense of self-awareness into Gorgeous Chaos, her riveting debut as a jazz chanteuse.

The acapella gospel tinged phrasing that Talese conveys on the opening "Someone To Watch Over Me," conveys the vulnerability of her voice, revealing a transcendent quality. Halfway through the song, the tender piano by Eric Wortham enters apropos, suggesting a gentle exit. Half of the dozen tracks are Talese originals, where she is able to exhibit her composing skills. "This Love," is an instance, a short, but brisk ditty, and "Trenchcoat," a sensual tryst, with clever tempo changes and arranging by pianist Erskine Hawkins.

Bassist Christian McBride, an avowed Talese supporter, lends his talent to various tracks, including "My Husband," and "Love Poems." These, of course, are romantically oriented, a subject which Talese covers with authority, yet she can be coy when necessary. She penned the lyrics to "Same Mistakes," a wistful ballad revealing the broad ranges of her vocal ability. "Winter," featuring pianist Robert Glasper, is a lush orchestration, with accented horn charts for that big band sound.

"Kissing A Fool," is transformed from pop candy into a serious R&B duet with Vivian Green, another singer who knows her way around a song. Talese returns to her own lyrics on "Made Up My Mind," showing popular influences while still flowing along the jazz harmony idiom. The sparsity of the accompaniment on "Tick Tock," is a perfect vehicle for her, whimsically weaving clever nuances into a graceful melody. "Forgive and Forget," a personal inspiration, leans into a contemporary vein, proving she is comfortable with variance, an undeniable soul streak in her vocal style. McBride makes a dramatic entrance on the perennial "Cry Me A River," supplying individual bass accompaniment and a distinguished solo. Though this song has been around the block a few times, Talese takes it back to that lonely alley behind a church, where no one hears the lovers lament, sung as a convincing plea into the darkness.

In her collected memory, Laurin Talese always wanted to sing. Born and raised in Cleveland, she sang and studied music at school before relocating to Philadelphia, and receiving a degree in jazz vocal performance from the University of the Arts. Admiring the talents of Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Astrud Gilberto, she set lofty goals for herself. While performing and recording with a variety of artists in the supporting role of backing vocalist, she decided to make her own record, and focused on that. Guided and assisted by the production team of Adam Blackstone and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. who procured the proper accompanists, Talese has crafted an impressive introduction that attests her time has come.

Track Listing: Someone To Watch Over Me; This Love; My Husband; Trenchcoat; Love Poems; Same Mistakes; Winter; Kissing A Fool; Made Up My Mind; Tick Tock; Forgive and Forget; Cry Me A River.

Personnel: Laurin Talese: vocals; Aaron Marisi: alto sax (8); Adam Blackstone: bass (2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9); Adam Rongo: alto sax (3); Anthony De Carlo: guitar (5,12); Anwar Marshall: drums (2, 7, 9); Ben O’Neill: guitar (8,10); Christian McBride: bass (3, 5, 10, 11, 12); Christian Sands: piano (3, 5, 10, 11, 12); Dontae Winslow: trumpet, trombone (6, 9); Eric Wortham: piano (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9); Erskine Hawkins: piano, strings (4, 6); Jamar Jones: strings (2); Joe Truglio: drums 4, 6, 8); Josh Lawrence: trumpet (4, 7, 8); Monet Guthrie: vocals (5); Nick Grinder: trombone (3); Paul Tafoya: trumpet (3); Robert Glasper: keys (8); Steve Tirpak: trombone (4, 7, 8); Time Green: alto sax, flute (6, 9); Ulysses Owens Jr: drums (3, 5, 10, 11, 12); Yesseh Furaha-Ali: alto sax (2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9); Vivian Green: vocal (8).

Title: Gorgeous Chaos | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Bassic Black Entertainment

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