Carmen Lundy – Soul to Soul

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Artist: Carmen Lundy

CD: Soul to Soul

Official URL: http://www.carmenlundy.com/

Jazz vocalist Carmen Lundy is a Jazz based artists located in the California who just released his thirteenth CD entitled “Soul to Soul” (2014). Her exotic sound is an entertaining hybrid of contemporary classic Jazz with modern day blues and vocal soul. It’s a rich style of music but I admit I was unfamiliar with real Jazz with vocals in it until now. First a bit about lundy. Currently on the Afrasia Productions label, Carmen is releasing her 14th album in the Fall of 2014. Almost two years in the making, “Soul To Soul” consists of new original songs by Lundy, and a few very special collaborations. The album features legendary artists – specialists on their respective instruments – including Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker, Ada Rovatti, Warren Wolf, Bennie Maupin, harpist Carol Robbins, and Simphiwe Dana, a stunning South African vocalist and composer, among others. Carmen has had several Top Ten albums on JazzWeek (“Jazz and the New Songbook-Live at The Madrid”, “Come Home”, and “Changes”) and a #3 spot on Billboard’s Jazz Chart for 23 weeks with her debut album “Good Morning Kiss”. Among her other awards and recognitions, especially rewarding was Miami-Dade’s County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners proclaiming January 25th “Carmen Lundy Day”, along with handing Ms. Lundy the keys to the City of Miami.

The songwriting here aims to promote more positive messages than what we hear on the radio these days. The overall vibe I get from Lundy and her amazing band are holding nothing back, thus steering clear of reducing songs to sanitized versions of themselves. The first few songs Kindred Spirits, Life is a Song In Me, and the title track hit the deck running as this bursts to life via well-appointed movements, soulful-jazz vibe and a very strong vocal presence up front. Also present are tight harmonies and consistent groove-ridden rhythm section and a plethora of superb instrumentation along the way. In my opinion this project features 3 main ingredients: Lundy on vocals and as primary composer, the Rhodes Piano or Piano and the rhythm section. To me these 3 personify the core of Lundy. This may sound stupid – but it’s amazing to me how valuable Lundy is to this kind of sound. She really is the marquee ingredient that makes all of this work oh so well. When the CD slowly unfolds you realize this is one of those artists that truly deserves worldwide recognition. The primaries here are Vocals, Piano and Drums/Bass. All 3 are finely balanced within the mix. The vocal range of Lundy is especially appealing to the higher registries are artfully defined while still layered quite nicely within the pocket. She has much to offer insofar as passion, grit and power without falling into the vocalist-with-supporting-arrangement trap. As marquee tracks like “Between Darkness and Dawn,”, “Soul to Soul”, “Life Is a Song In me” and the “Grateful suite” stimulate the senses one can’t help but admire how all the instruments and musical styles are distributed masterfully within this brilliant 13 track set.  This is a true to form old school Jazz in a refined stetting. It also successfully captures the vintage songwriting virtuoso of Lundy but I can hear even Maxine Sullivan, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. I think I understand Vocal Jazz after all and I’m hooked. Throughout all piece one will notice a tragic-sweetness and blooming hooks all the while maintaining an intimate “conservative” Jazz feel.

“Soul to Soul” by Carmen Lundy is undeniably Jazz based with an almost Organic and very spiritual feel to it courtesy of Lundy and her band and the demographic. Many songs on this album are more than ripe for all blues and folk fans out there but this album could easily be liked by all music fan. In “Soul to Soul” expect no overdubbing or disappointingly amateurish mixing with a disingenuous attempt in making a hit record. These are high-quality, clean recordings that balances out both natural and midi sounds flawlessly. The music though effective is not up to the level of some of the hookier styles of music I’ve heard like Billie Holliday, Chris Conner and Tierney Sutton.

Carmen Lundy is a real deal talent and as a whole, it’s an impressive CD. This music may not be for the sonic pop crowd but regardless of any of that “Soul to Soul” proves that with continued dedication via a powerful slew of songs great music can be achieved when an artists is in total unison with their soul and spirit.

Official rating: 5/5

Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Carmen-Lundy/e/B000APYVMS

by Michael Walthall. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes.