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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: In Love Again; Something To Believe In; Windmills Of Your Mind; Happiness Is; Wild Child; I Loves
You Porgy; Vu Ja De; A Gift of Love; It Might as Well Be Spring; Moody
Personnel: Carmen Lundy- vocals; Anthony Wonsey- piano; Curtis Lundy- bass; Victor Lewis- drums; Mark
Shim- tenor saxophone on
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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