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Lizz Wright: Shadow


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Lizz Wright: Shadow
The singer Lizz Wright made a brief stopover in London in March 2024, on a tour previewing Shadow. She appeared for one night only at Cadogan Hall, a 900-seat auditorium big enough when full to feel buzzy but small enough still to remain close to intimate. It was a perfect setting for Wright and her characteristically à la carte programme of jazz, gospel, blues and folk music from multiple traditions.

Shadow is an exquisitely crafted, low-key production exploring grief and treasuring lost love. If that sounds like a downer, do not worry, it is not: the album is intensely sad at times, certainly, but the fundamental vibe is resilient and forward-looking. One feels cleansed by listening to it. Check out the YouTube below of the lead single "Sweet Feeling," co-written by Candi Staton and Clarence Carter. The doctor is in and the gris gris is strong. (The track sounds like something by Taj Mahal and reminds us that Wright guested on Mahal and Keb Mo's 2017 Concord album, TajMo.)

Shadow's theme was suggested, Wright explained to the Cadogan audience, by the passing of her grandmother Martha, "the defining love of my life," who made the world seem "small and warm" to Wright as a child and gave her backbone as she was growing up. There are five Wright originals on the disc and six covers, played by a tight guitar and keyboards band augmented by occasional guests and, on two tracks, by a string quartet.

Highlights? The 50-minute playing time is full of them. Caitlin Canty's "Lost In The Valley" is one, in a stroke of genius featuring a Carnatic violin solo from guest Arun Ramamurthy. The track is reminiscent of "The Mountain," a vocal track on Jaimie Branch's Fly Or Die Fly Or Die Fly Or Die ((World War)) (International Anthem, 2023). Another treasure is Cole Porter's immortal declaration "I Concentrate On You," where Wright is accompanied by acoustic guitar, electronic drums and a string quartet beautifully arranged by Hanna Benn. The often covered "Who Knows Where The Time Goes," written by the British singer Sandy Denny and first recorded by her with Fairpoint Convention in 1969, is one of the saddest songs ever written. Wright does it justice. Gillian Welch's reverential "I Made A Lover's Prayer" closes the album.

Bottom line: You could not improve on Shadow if you tried.

Track Listing

Sparrow; Your Love; Root Of Mercy; Sweet Feeling; This Way; Lost In The Valley; I Concentrate On You; Circling; No More Will I Run; Who Knows Where The Time Goes; I Made A Lovers Prayer.


Lizz Wright
Adam Levy
Rashaan Carter
bass, acoustic
Additional Instrumentation

Kenny Banks Sr: piano, B3; Angelique Kidjo: vocals (1); Tina Basu: violin (1, 6); Arun Ranamurthy: Carnatic violin (1, 6); Chris Bruce: guitars, Rhodes, percussion (1-6, 8-11); Deantoni Parks: acoustic, electronic drums (1-5, 7-11); Meshell Ndegeocello: bass (2); Brandee Younger: harp (2); Glenn Patscha: Rhodes, B3 (2, 5, 6, 8); Kenny Banks Sr: piano, B3; Lynne Earls: Wurlitzer, baritone acoustic guitar, hand percussion (3); Melissa Park: cello (7, 11); Katherine Hughes: violin (7, 11); Jeff Young: viola (7, 11); Elizabeth Brathwaite: violin (1-11).

Album information

Title: Shadow | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Blues & Greens

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