Liz Terrell, whose work was hitherto unknown to me, has come across as a highly accomplished and seductive mezzo-voiced singer whose traversing of these well-worn standards is wondrous in every way. And so she is sure to make a lasting impression on discerning listeners of fine vocal music.
This repertoire may sound like it is easy to sing, but to dig deep into the meaning of each word and phrase, to listen to the secrets of the stories and inhabit nuanced emotions – especially from darker, moodier songs, such as “Night and Day” and “Almost Blue” – is no small challenge, and thus it is no small achievement to sing [both] with such eloquence. The interpretation of the latter song comes as close to “deep song” as anyone has managed to sing it.
Miss Terrell has a pure, beautiful mezzo. She dips her vocal brush into a rather broad palette varnishing its lovely romantic core with soft, subtle shades and greater control. There is a directness in Miss Terrell’s delivery that has found its home in these lyrics as the finest singers get to naked purity and exposure of private emotions as any great vocalist will ever get to raw and brutal honesty.
The best works are also among the most playful – such as the “Fats Waller Medley”. And Miss Terrell’s interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk” is refreshing and quite brilliant. Also emotional honesty is displayed most elegantly on “Almost Blue” and her dramatically powerful interpretation of “What the World Needs Now”. On this [latter] chart the conversation with saxophonist Eddie Young is uncommonly lyrical – both singer and instrumentalist employing open-throated approaches to lyricism.
Simple pleasures – musical interplay among sympathetic colleagues, text and music each revealing the other, a voice what it does best – are celebrated – indeed – amplified throughout this album. Sometimes the greatest sophistication lies in the greatest simplicity. And this is what Liz Terrell knows – and does – like few others.
Tracks – 1: People Make the World Go Round; 2: It’s Alright By Me; 3: Night and Day; 4: Blue Monk; 5: Time After Time; 6: I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life; 7: Fats Waller Medley – i – Ain’t Misbehavin’; ii – The Jitterbug Waltz; iii – Honeysuckle Rose; 8: Almost Blue; 9: The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers; 10: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; 11: What The World Needs Now
Musicians – Liz Terrell: vocals; Daniel Clarke: piano; Chris Brydge: bass; Emre Kartari: drums; Alan Parker: guitar; Eddie Williams: saxophone
Released – 2022
Label Westmont Records
Runtime – 1:04:25