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Carmen Lundy's follow-up recording to her extraordinary Jazz and the New Songbook: Live at the Madrid is a studio effort emphasizing her compositions co-written by various others. As her credentials as one of the premier present-day jazz vocalists grow, she retains a solidly grounded and supple voice coupled with her direct and vibrant presence on the 2000s scene. Her flexible, vivacious, and clear voice is evident to anyone who pays close attention. What Lundy does that sets her apart is tackle the challenge of creating an ambitious book of songs that go beyond convention while still retaining a contemporary feel without being overproduced. Accompanists are chosen for their taste level and ability to lift Lundy's spirits -- pianist Anthony Wonsey and guitarist Lage Lund loom large on this list. This sense of collaboration, from the songwriting to the instrumental arrangements, lifts the music to a lofty artistic level. These are not just songs of love, for or not for me me me, while the variety of sounds and styles tell you Lundy is truly thinking about how to change things up. In the more modern traditionalist jazz sense, "Gossip" is a hot, quick, quirky be-bopper, but that's about it. Modalities are explored in the free float to 6/8 to expansive scat and lyric of "Lost in San Rafael," the John Coltrane like easy and carefree "Walking Code Blue," and the low key, pensive 5/4 chart of the standard "Nature Boy." In a more now-than-then style, the clock timed rhythm of the title cut, or the funky and electric inserts of "Lil' Lu," which approach but never cross the line into a commercialized pop arena. Lundy also embraces Brazilian and Portuguese lyric elements, essential Afro-Cuban to Asian rhythms, a children's song, a New Year's wish, and a wedding vow tune. "Something Happened Today," in duet with pianist Geri Allen, is the most personal statement on the disc, a spirit song of realization and transformation. Lundy's star continues to rise, and this CD is further evidence of that steady ascension.
Performance CreditsCarmen Lundy Primary Artist,Vocals
Geri Allen Synthesizer,Piano,fender rhodes
Curtis Lundy Bass
Mayra Casales Percussion,Background Vocals
Steve Turre Trombone,Conch Shell
Lori Andrews Harp
Lage Lund Guitar
Technical CreditsCarmen Lundy Arranger,Composer,Art Direction,Paintings
Curtis Lundy Arranger
Joe Ferla Engineer
Bart Samolis Engineer
Eden Ahbez Composer
Anasol Escobar translation
Elisabeth Oei Producer