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Something to Believe In could – and should – be the breakout album for veteran opera-trained vocalist Carmen Lundy. This is not to imply that Ms. Lundy doesn’t already possess a large group of devoted admirers, but this disc will go a long way to solidify her position as one of the finest jazz singers performing today; whether singing her own compositions, or bringing new interpretation and meaning to a standard tune, Lundy is hard not to believe in.
Coincidentally all the songs here are about love. The title track, written by Lundy and Rich Meitin, is a sensual duet between her and Anthony Wonsey on piano. It’s a relaxed, slow-paced song whose melody sticks to you for a long time after the song ends. Wonsey knows when to take center stage and when to accentuate Lundy’s impeccable phrasing. On Lundy’s interpretation of the Michael Legrand classic "Windmills of Your Mind," a personal favorite, the vocalist is joined by Wonsey, drummer Victor Lewis, bassist Curtis Lundy, percussionist Mayra Casales, and violinist Regina Carter – but unfortunately on just two others. Contributing gypsy-like floating phrases that sound like an elusive wind rushing round and round and round, Carter kicks a fast-paced rendition of "Windmills of Your Mind" up several levels.
Saxophonist Mark Shim blows tenor and soprano on four songs: the classic Gershwin tune "I Loves You Porgy"; an up-tempo Lundy original, "Vu Ja De"; "Wild Child"; and the opener, "In Love Again," another Ms. Lundy composition. Something to Believe In is immediately likeable, a quality that only expands through repeated listenings.
Track Listing: 1. In Love Again 4:16
2. Something to Believe In 5:52
3. Windmills of Your Mind 5:23
4. Happiness Is 2:53
5. Wild Child 4:07
6. I Loves You Porgy 7:31
7. Vu Ja De 5:35
8. A Gift of Love 2:32
9. It Might as Well Be Spring 5:17
10. Moody's Mood for Love 3:28
Personnel: Carmen Lundy: Vocals, Percussion; Curtis Lundy: Bass
Myra Casales: Percussion, Background Vocals;
Anthony Wonsey: Piano, Fender Rhodes;
Regina Carter: Violin;
Victor Lewis: Drums;
Mark Shim: Soprano and Tenor Saxophones.
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.