Vocalist and songwriter Lisa Lauren Manor's new CD,Timeless, is one of the strongest debuts I've heard in quite awhile. It's a multi-faceted, rewarding program of varying styles, yet it's centered around contemporary jazz. The CD opens with an energetic, R&B-flavored "Nothin' Down." Next up is the romantic ballad, "Starlite and You," with Manor's expressive vocals suggesting comparisons to Kevyn Lettau (where's she been lately?). The mid-tempo "No Matter Where" recalls Lettau as well. A horn sections adds spark to "I've Got a Thing for You." Various other flavors of jazzy pop continue the flow.
Manor considers herself first a songwriter, then a singer. All of the songs here were co-composed with keyboarding Joey Arreguin, except a nice slower, expressive version of "Alone Again, Naturally." The originals stand up well. Manor cites as influences Carole King, Elton John, and Billy Joel; the tunes reflect these composers' gifts for crafting a song, yet they're mostly in a jazzier vein. Manor wisely ensures the disc's success by hiring some of L.A.'s most accomplished and versatile studio aces for the date (see below). (Love & Laughter Music LLMCD-212)
Tracks: Enter; Nothin' Down; Starlite and You; I Got a Thing for You; I Can't Forget; Timeless Interlude; Walkin' With You (In the Pouring Rain); Baby, Be Mine; Alone Again, Naturally; No Podemos Ser (We Can Never Be); Ephemeral; No Matter Where; Seven Chances; Find Your Song; Exit. (53:16)
Lisa Lauren Manor (vocals); Joey Arreguin (keyboards); Frank Gambale, Paul Jackson Jr., Mark Vincent, Ric Flauding (guitar); Abraham Laboriel, Jimmy Earl (bass); Alex Acuna (drums and percussion), Cara Olinger, Vaneta Thompson (background vocals); Justo Almario (tenor sax and flute), horn section.