by Woodrow Wilkins
In an age when even some of the most firmly established veteran artists are releasing albums of cover songs--whether the tried and true selection of standards from the Great American Songbook, or updates of more recent popular tunes--it is quite refreshing to hear a debut artist sing mostly original songs. Raya Yarbrough, a West Coast product of a mixed-race relationship and mixed musical influences, penned eight of the 12 songs on her self-titled release.Yarbrough was seven when her ...read more
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
It's always a pleasure to welcome another genre-busting talent, and Raya Yarbrough, the LA-based singer/songwriter whose music is an artful mix of jazz, blues and pop, is just that.
Yarbrough acquired her B.A. from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where she won the Quincy Jones Award and the Herb Alpert Scholarship; later, she was selected for a Betty Carter Jazz Ahead composition residency at the Kennedy Center. One of her ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
Raya Yarbrough's eponymous disc cover shows a young, fresh, precocious face. The voice revealed in the disc's 12 selections, exhibits one that is older and more experienced than the cover's appearance betrays. While this disc will certainly be filed under jazz, it is much, much more. About the only way to introduce Raya Yarbrough is to say that she has arrived.
The best way to describe Yarbrough is that she takes up where Cassandra Wilson left off in ...read more