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Ruth Naomi Floyd: Root to the Fruit

Read "Root to the Fruit" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Along with her sidework with instrumentalists Charles Fambrough, Uri Caine and other jazzmen of note, composer/vocalist Ruth Naomi Floyd gives voice to her own muse through her own label, Contour Records. Her fifth release continues her longstanding collaboration with pianist James Weidman, known for his accompaniment for vocalists Abbey Lincoln and Cassandra Wilson. It also features James Newton on flute, saxophonist Gary Thomas, and rhythm section aces Reggie Washington (bass) and Ralph Peterson (drums).

Root to the Fruit ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ruth Naomi Floyd: Root to the Fruit

Read "Root to the Fruit" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Over the course of her two previous recordings, Walk and not be Faint and Fan into Flame, vocalist Ruth Naomi Floyd has directly approached Christian spiritual themes in jazz, with better success than other artists in other genres. On Root to the Fruit, Floyd continues her journey in earnest, exploring jazz modes of delivery as divergent as field chants and Archie Shepp solos.

“No Hiding Place opens the disc with conga riffs settling into a walking rhythm. Floyd ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ruth Naomi Floyd: Root to the Fruit

Read "Root to the Fruit" reviewed by Jim Santella

Jazz and gospel come together on Ruth Naomi Floyd's Root to the Fruit, where she sings original material with a theatrical delivery. She works with a stellar jazz ensemble that includes flutist James Newton, tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas, bassist Reggie Washington and pianist James Weidman in feature roles, emphasizing the freedom that jazz can add to a setting. They improvise alongside the vocalist and help to relate a message of spiritual faith and understanding.

Floyd's strong voice fills ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ruth Naomi Floyd: Fan Into Flame

Read "Fan Into Flame" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

In the Spirit?Ruth Naomi Floyd begins her new recording Fan Into Flame where she left off with her last, Walk and Not Be Faint . That would be with the sleek, swinging delivery of the Good News using jazz as the chariot. Ms. Floyd mines the contemporary (Duke Ellington's “In the Beginning God") and not so recent (Mahalia Jackson's “Lord Don't Move That Mountain") and sprinkles these jewels among her and pianist James Weidman's fresh compositions. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ruth Naomi Floyd: Walk And Not Be Faint

Read "Walk And Not Be Faint" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Spiritual Jazz. Ruth Naomi Floyd’s jazz is decidedly spiritual. No wonder as she was raised in the Church, daughter of prominent Philadelphia, PA minister, the Reverend Melvin Floyd. She covers the familiar modern hymn “We are one in the Spirit” with enough smart swing to cause the walls to tumble. Smart is the key operative. Floyd’s arrangements and phrasing are carefully crafted tomes tastefully conceived and executed. Her mezzo voice is pliant and cooperative, very pleasing, exuding her spiritual music ...


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