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Carmen Lundy is not one of those household names that comes to mind when you think of female vocalists in the world of contemporary jazz, but this album could change your mind. When I first heard " Invitation " on my car radio whilst driving around the chaotic M25 around London, I almost drove into the car in front of me as I tried to find my dictaphone and record this piece of heaven.
" Invitation " features an excellent arrangement by Allan Gumbs and one of the most memorable Fender Rhodes solos I can remember ( and I love Joe Sample and George Duke ). This six minute mid tempo groove will have you scrambling for the repeat button on your CD player. The golden vocals of Carmen are expressed on the self penned " Dont you worry your head about it " and the stunning Johnny Mandel classic " A time for love ".
To picture the next few tracks you'll have to let your imagination run away with you. It's now four a.m. in the morning and you are in a jazz nightclub in the Big Apple, most of the crowd have gone home and you are there alone looking across a smokey room at someone, the music is soft and easy, then the scene is set for " You'll always have a part of me " and the dreamy " As one ", Johnny Mercer's " Moment to Moment " featuring guitarist Kevin Eubanks and the nine minute extravaganza " Big girls " with " Magic Fingers " saxophonist Chico Freeman.
One other highlight of the album is the bossa cut " Samba de la Playa ", written by the talented Miss Lundy. This cut is right out of the top drawer of the bossa classics a la " Wave " and " Girl from Ipanema " and features the stunning acoustic guitar playing of Kevin Eubanks.
The clarity and beauty of Carmen Lundy's voice makes this album " a must to have " for all Astrud Gilberto, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pamela Driggs or Laverne Butler fans.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.