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Jacqui Naylor: Treasures of the Heart

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Jacqui Naylor: Treasures of the Heart
Jacqui Naylor's Treasure of the Heart sends up fourteen highly unique jewels, with ten of those being original compositions from Naylor and spouse Art Khu and four classics, all offering a wide range of grooves from funk, jazz, and rock. Throughout the date, Naylor exhibits a healthy versatility with her vocal instrument and delivers a lyric interpretation that at times startles.

Rodgers and Hart's well-recorded jazz standard, "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," launches things and gets an entirely different and juicy-hip Latin 6/4 take. Naylor lithely croons over the polyrhythmic bed. Pianist Art Khu offers a tasty piano solo here. The title tune is a funky rock effort with Naylor's darker-shaded voice is intense and driving in front of a groove-driven, organ-led ensemble. Erik Jekabson's resonant horn opens the soft rock-flavored "All That We Could Be" in a contemporary format. She covers the slow "Walk Out in the Sun" where she plays and toys with the time, stating the lyric over Howell's fine brushwork. "Love's Around" is another rhythmically intense selection where Naylor soars over the funk base.

Naylor has a unique and seductive aspect to her smoky voice. She has a melismatic glide to melody, fine range up and down, and flavors lyrics with a fencer's flair. She offers intensity when appropriate and lays back similarly for fine effect. This is a highly versatile and soulful artist who seems to be able to deftly cover a wide variety of genres, as witnessed across the entire session.

Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, is well-covered. Here Naylor and team send it up slowly in a triple-metered groove. Khu's B3 gives the track an almost soul-gospel vibe. "Love in Springtime," another slower rock effort, has Naylor offering a vivid lyric portrait before an exquisite Khu piano solo. It is a pleasant, enjoyable track. "Lovely Day," a big hit for Bill Withers, is presented true to its original form—with a surprising and savvy insert of lyrics from another rosy-eyed classic. Naylor gives us a positive, optimistic offering over an energized ensemble. Bassist Richie Goods and drummer, Ele Salif Howell drive the track hard. The calypso groove and big fun of "Picture Book of You" keep the positivism going. It is another example of the expansive vocal versatility that Naylor possesses. The iconic "This Guy's in Love with You" via Herb Alpert, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, is shrewdly presented as a jazz waltz, covered respectfully by all. It is certainly unique with an ace production touch. A highlight track, "We'll Shine Through" ends the session with more funk-rock. Naylor is marvelously at home on this take. And, the group has a deep pocket, ending the session on a soulfully high note.

Treasures of the Heart is a supremely interesting and extremely well-performed album by a hip, versatile vocalist and her incredibly supportive cadre.

Track Listing

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; Treasures of the Heart; All That We Could Be; Happy Adventure; Walk Out in the Sun; Love's Around; True Colors; You're the One for Me; Love in Springtime; Lovely Day; Picture Book of You; This Guy's in Love with You; Hold on; We'll Shine Through.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Treasures of the Heart | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Ruby Star Records


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