When Liz Terrell sings something, you believe it. Adding her own strength of expression to every piece she touches, communicating with absolute earnestness, and offering a sound all her own, she makes every melody and musical gesture matter. On this, her debut album, Terrell puts her powerful pipes to great use on an incredibly diverse collection of songs that highlight broad interests and influences. And with a solid band behind her, everything lands as it should.
Opening on “People Make the World Go Round,” Terrell seduces while moving from a slow-cooker soul setting to shifts between a light Latin-ized feel and straight-time solidity. One of a number of arrangements from frequent collaborator/bassist Chris Brydge, it proves to be the perfect launch pad for Terrell’s talents. Then she plays it cool (at first) on the title track, a number that features some sly solo work from saxophonist Eddie Williams and moves to the brink of a boiling point before backing off; makes it a Cole Porter twofer with a “Night and Day” follow-up, working from a free-time intro to swinging comforts highlighting guitarist Alan Parker‘s work; and takes “Blue Monk” for a slow stroll down an azure avenue.
In the tracks that follow that opening run, Terrell looks to numerous styles, sources and eras. There’s tastefully-tweaked ’80s pop in the form of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” three Fats Waller gems wrapped in a bow as a medley, Elvis Costello‘s standard-esque “Almost Blue” (delivered in a duo with pianist Daniel Clarke), a caffeinated “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and a dip into the respective songbooks of Cy Coleman and Joseph McCarthy, Jr., Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Duke Ellington (with Bob Russell lyrics). Demonstrating a strong kinship with Williams, Clarke, Parker, Brydge and drummer Emre Kartari, Terrell demonstrates what teamwork is all about. And by willingly offering herself to these songs, and, conversely, taking ownership of each, she makes a serious impression—the first of many, hopefully—as a singer and leader.
People Make The World Go Round; It’s All Right With Me; Night and Day; Blue Monk; Time After Time; I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life; Fats Waller Medley (Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Jitterbug Waltz; Honeysuckle Rose); Almost Blue; The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers; Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; What The World Needs Now.
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