Universal Language

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Most of the jazz critics who reviewed Kevyn Lettau's albums in the '90s had few kind words for the L.A. based singer, whose JVC releases ended up in the jazz bins but were essentially pop/R&B efforts with jazz overtones. Many jazz critics are jazz snobs who hate any music that isn't straight-ahead, and Lettau is far from a hard bopper. But it's silly to hate the singer because she isn't Betty Carter or Sheila Jordan when she never claimed to be. It's best to judge Universal Language from a pop/R&B standpoint, and as far as pop/R&B goes, the CD is generally pleasant, if uneven and less than essential. Blessed with an impressive range, Lettau brings a somewhat ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Most of the jazz critics who reviewed Kevyn Lettau's albums in the '90s had few kind words for the L.A. based singer, whose JVC releases ended up in the jazz bins but were essentially pop/R&B efforts with jazz overtones. Many jazz critics are jazz snobs who hate any music that isn't straight-ahead, and Lettau is far from a hard bopper. But it's silly to hate the singer because she isn't Betty Carter or Sheila Jordan when she never claimed to be. It's best to judge Universal Language from a pop/R&B standpoint, and as far as pop/R&B goes, the CD is generally pleasant, if uneven and less than essential. Blessed with an impressive range, Lettau brings a somewhat Anita Baker-ish quality to her work -- Baker by way of Angela Bofill and Jean Carn, one might say. This isn't to say that Universal Language is as strong or as interesting as those singers' best work, but it has its moments. The album's more memorable moments come when Lettau provides lyrics for Pat Metheny's "So May It Secretly Begin" and Billy Childs' "Gentle Flower" and turns her attention to the Brazilian song "Beatriz," although she's unconvincing on Benny Carter's "Only Trust Your Heart." Universal Language isn't a bad album -- in fact, it's probably the best album Lettau recorded in the '90s -- but she is capable of a lot more. [A Chinese edition of the CD was also released.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/20/2001
  • Label: SAMSON MUSIC
  • UPC: 602582990429
  • Catalog Number: 29904

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kevyn Lettau Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Background Vocals
Billy Childs Piano, fender rhodes
Tiger Okoshi Trumpet
Ricardo Silveira Guitar
Jimmy Haslip Bass, Fretless Bass Guitar
Gary Meek Fiddle, Keyboards, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Michael Ruff Piano
Alex Acuña Percussion
Bill Cantos Background Vocals
Luis Conte Percussion
Russell Ferrante Synthesizer, Piano
Mitchel Forman Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, MIDI Piano, Moog Bass
Alphonso Johnson Bass, Fretless Bass Guitar
Scott Mayo Fiddle, Tenor Saxophone, Background Vocals
Nadia Background Vocals
Mike Shapiro Percussion, Drums
Technical Credits
Edú Lobo Arranger
Billy Childs Arranger
Gary Meek Arranger
Michael Ruff Arranger
Bill Cantos Arranger, Vocal Arrangements
Russell Ferrante Arranger
Mitchel Forman Arranger, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Geoff Gillette Engineer
John Hendrickson Engineer
Kevyn Lettau Arranger, translation
Scott Mayo Arranger
Darren Mora Engineer
Robert Reed Engineer
Doug Sax Mastering
Yutaka Yokokura Arranger, Engineer
Kleber Jorge translation
Amy Dakos Art Direction
Mike Shapiro Arranger, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Chiquinho de Moraes Arranger
Chiquinho Moraes Arranger
Nicholas Brodszky Composer
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