Carmen Lundy Soul To Soul Album Review
By: Paula Edelstein AXS Contributor Jul 31, 2014
The acclaimed composer, jazz vocalist, producer, arranger and educator Carmen Lundy believes in honesty and sincerity in music. Her artistic passion has guided her around the world, working with numerous musicians such as Geri Allen, Patrice Rushen, Teri Lynne Carrington and many others. So it should come as no surprise that her fervent new song cycle, titledSoul To Soul, features an array of award-winning musicians that help her realize the next chapter in her critically acclaimed career.
Soul To Soul (Afrasia Productions) is Carmen Lundy’s 14th album and features 13 songs, 11 of which Carmen composed and arranged. She plays guitar on all tracks, piano on “Kindred Spirits,” the electric Rhodes on “Don’t You Know How I Feel,” and drums/percussion on “Sardegna” and also provides backing vocals on “Grace.” The album also features guest musicians Patrice Rushen playing piano, Rhodes, keyboards on all songs, Geri Allen on piano and Rhodes on select tracks, trumpeter Randy Brecker, percussionist/conguero Mayra Casales, vocalist Simphiwe Dana, saxophonists Bennie Maupin and Ada Rovatti, harpist Carol Robbins, and Warren Wolf on vibes alongside Carmen’s core rhythm section members Darryl Hall on bass and Jamison Ross on drums.
The Los Angeles-based vocalist opens the program with “Kindred Spirits,” a song that explores the concept of ‘you reap what you sow’ and the way you play the game of life. Next is “Life Is A Song In Me,” during which Lundy’s lyrics benefit from the synergy of her multi-octave range and vocalese, Rushen’s Rhodes solo, Jamison Ross’ exemplary drumming and the balanced backing vocals. Carmen Lundy continues to find new connections between the jazz elements used by vocalists and instrumentalists on the title track, “Soul To Soul.” She adds the stellar accompaniment of trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist Ada Rovatti and piano chops of Patrice Rushen to underline her musical persona and vocal technique. The sound motion inherent in that song has great tone that many people will feel instantly and submit it to their memory and recall abilities. That is what makes a song a hit with people – its sound motion.
Her great ballad, “When Will They Learn,” is absolutely beautiful with its string arrangements for harpist Carol Robbins and the serene brushwork of Jamison Ross. Here Carmen delivers the song in her vocals lower octaves which make this moving song one of the best on the recording. You can hear that she has internalized the music, allowing it to flow in her veins and transferring it directly to the listener.
Overall, Soul To Soul is among Carmen Lundy’s best recordings. She understands that those notes she puts down on paper are important and have their place. But when it comes to delivering those notes, her vocal acumen and virtuosity proves that she has the right balance, the right accompaniments, the right musical formats and the right synergy, artistry and jazz sensibilities to make those inspired notes accessible to her worldwide fans. Check it out.