What is most exciting about the new crop of singers coming onto the scene is the abundant joy present in much of their work. They're happy to be singing; they're happy to do what their idols and mentors do; they're happy to be sharing their gift. One listen to singer Sophia Shorai's Long as You're Living and the prominence of her enthusiasm is hard to ignore. Featuring twelve jazz and contemporary music covers, and accompanied by pianist Tommy Barbarella, Shorai's project represents the best of what music is all about: good music made by artists who clearly believe in their product.
Long as You're Living is a great display of "do what you love and everything will fall into place." Shorai's voice is sweet and light, while Barbarellabest known for his work with Prince and the New Power Generationbrings an energy that makes Shorai soar. Shorai is clearly eager to put her own spin on the lyrics, a goal that Barbarella helps the singer accomplish, as long as he's allowed to shine in the process; the two sounding good together, which benefits the music.
With themes of love, politics, and social responsibility spread throughout the recording, the standout tracks include the title track, along with "Black Coffee," "You Don't Know What Love Is," "Everybody Knows," "In the Wee Small Hours," and "Big Brother."
A testament to the good music coming out of Minneapolis, it won't be long before Shorai extends beyond her local setting and becomes a regular fixture all over the air waves.
Track Listing: Long As You're Living; Black Coffee; Brother, Can You Spare A Dime; You Don't Know What Love Is; Old Devil Moon; Everybody Knows; In The Wee Small Hours; Hellhound On My Trail; I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry; Big Brother; Peace; Waters of March.
Personnel: Sophia Shorai: vocals; Tommy Barbarella: piano.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.