Laird Jackson, vocals; Aaron Graves, piano, keyboard; John Benitez, 8 string electric bass; Damon Duewhite, trap drums; Marvin Sewell, electric and acoustic guitar; Bruce Barth, piano; Nat Reeves, Acoustic bass, Clarence Penn, drums; Steve Wilson, soprano sax and alto flute; Scott Wendholt, trumpet; Gary Smulyan, baritone sax; Daniel Moreno, percussion; Brian Carrott, marimba; Jeffrey Haynes, percussion; Cecil Bridgewater, flugelhorn; Joe Ford, alto saxophone
Laird Jackson draws us into a world that is sensuous and emotional, with an added spice of darkness. Laird is the new generation, this is her music; there is no compromise or room for popularity. She believes in being truly moved by a song; to identify with it personally before it is entertained. Her voice has a smoky, melancholy edge, her words are clearly articulated; indeed a prerequisite for this style of singing. Even her most upbeat number, "Take Little Walk" hints at an undeniable strain of gentle melancholy. The piano of Bruce Barth (this man is everywhere!) and the backing group offer comforting support. "I Want to Spend the Night", a Bill Withers number, has Laird offering an exotic vibration. "Touched", the title track quivers with austere beauty and "Yet Still", sang unaccompanied, is a sad song of clear perfection. "Lonely House", originally written for a Broadway show called 'Street Scenes' is a collaboration of melodist Kurt Weill and poet Langston Hughes, this will encourage you to become deliciously morose.
These are finely chosen tunes, delicate and heart felt; six of the eleven tracks are written by Laird; arrangements are by either Aaron Graves or Bruce Barth.
This is soulful stuff, beautiful, new and artistic. Certainly a CD for the connoisseur.
by Ferdinand Maylin
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