, Washington DC-based vocalist Changamiré follows up her self-produced 2001 debut Only Human
with a new song cycle mainly co-written and produced with Lincoln Ross, who also contributes trombone to several tracks. Changamiré's songs suggest the compositional depth of Roberta Flack. But her voice is not quite so brooding, and sounds more rooted in the gospel foundation of singers such as Anita Baker
. BUT it's even different from, a bit more exotic sounding around the edges than, Baker's straight-on gospel-soulit almost sounds as if Eartha Kitt
's "Catwoman" character decided to become a jazz singer. Out of the entire universe of soul, R&B and jazz vocalists, you'd think I could find one female singer with a voice similar to Changamiré's or a style comparable to her singing. But...not yet, anyway.
The torch ballad "Sunny Days" brings out an innocent sound, its sense of longing and wonder underlined by Ross' trombone solo; "All I'm Sayin'" keeps this torch burning but with a more Spanish romantic sound from acoustic piano and guitar. It's easy to envision Changamiré standing in her finest, most elegant evening gown next to a beautiful grand piano (complete with candelabra) to sing and swing Love
's title track, her voice leading vibes and piano that trail behind like playful kittens hunting a ball of yarn.
Even if Changamiré's voice is difficult to place, several tunes weave familiar threads into comfortable garments that she wraps around it: The heartbeat within "If You Should Wonder" sounds like a Stevie Wonder
tune, and its flute and subtle strings (which are brilliantly arranged throughout Love
) complement her warm, inviting vocal. "For Seven Nights" settles in your ear like a soft satin sheet, an irresistible and smoldering Marvin Gaye come-on, as strings cast in silhouette the lush heartache in her voice, a voice that hops, skips and jumps atop the bouncing beat of Bootsy Collins
' "I'd Rather Be With You."
Changamiré also steeps Love
in the liquid, languid sounds and rhythms of Brazil. In "Discover," her cooing and sighing voice dances like a Sade
samba among percussion and strings while each note of Skip Fennell's piano solo sparkles like plump drops of crystal cool rainwater.
Curiously, even surrounded by all the magic in Changamiré's alluring voice, the almost completely instrumental "The First Time" closes Love
with some of the most beautiful music on this entire set.
If You Should Wonder; Part of Your Heart; Sunny Days; Love; I'd Rather Be With You; A Starlight; Discover (featuring Skip Fennell); For Seven Nights; Georgia on My Mind; The Truth of the Matter; Continuous (remix featuring Jaymo and Lini); All I'm Sayin'; The First Time.
Changamiré: vocals; Clifton Brockington: piano; Donvonte McCoy: trumpet; B. T. Richardson: bass; Lincoln Ross: trombone; Steve Walker: drums; Skip Fennell: piano; BuBu the Producer: guitar; Jaymo: vocals; Lini: vocals.