Carmen Lundy nails it again with 'Soul to Soul'
By Bailey Briscoe, 9/27/2014, Celebrity Cafe
4.0 Stars - Very Good
Carmen Lundy’s newest album Soul to Soul was released on Sept. 23, bringing the artist’s grand total to 14 albums. Lundy, who is a jazz singer, songwriter and musician, wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the new album.
Lundy returns to her roots with this album. However, the album explores her journey throughout her four decades in the industry. Lundy has been working on the album for two years, with her last album release being Changes in 2012.
According to her website, Lundy said she “wrote the music with special players in mind for each respective instrument.”
The album, released by Afrasia Productions, includes collaborations with several big name jazz talents, like Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker and Mayra Casales.
The album traces Lundy’s path across the world, with songs like “Kindred Spirits” and “Grateful” being about her hometown of Miami, while songs like “Soul to Soul” and “Sardegna” come from her time in Italy.
The album begins with the “Kindred Spirits," taking off with a cymbal crash and big bass note, followed by springy pianos and an almost haunting organ. Throughout the track, Carmen Lundy weaves her unique melodic singing style through the ethereal, gospel sounding swells and very set in jazz key changes. The song has contrast in Lundy’s vocals and the gospel-like melody. In the lyrics, Lundy focuses on her time growing up in the church, interestingly ending the song with the repeat of the line “you’ll never get to heaven.”
My personal favorite is “Grace," which offers an African twist to Lundy’s jazz vocals. Acoustic guitar plucks mesh with lush piano in the verses. Simphiwe Dana, a South African vocalist, lends her deep, soulful voice to the track, providing contrast to Lundy’s voice. The empowered hopeful lyrics round out the track to make this an enjoyable listen.
The album comes full circle, ending with track “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory," which employs stripped down piano tones and bare bones vocals to produce a smoky bar feel. The reverb from the piano fills the backdrop with a tapestry of sound while still giving space for the vocals to shine. Even with the rat pack vibe and the straightforward vocal delivery, there is still that signature vibrato riding the soothing melody that makes Carmen Lundy so great.
Soul to Soul is definitely a must-listen for the jazz fans of the world. Lundy’s style is timeless and classic. The listener can feel her journey through her vocals, which become heightened by those of her collaborators and by the melodies, as she is a wonderful musical storyteller.