Lisa Lauren - My Own Twist
singer/songwriter and pianist Lisa Lauren is no stranger to the smooth
jazz circuit and has appeared regularly with her trio on Chicago’s
WNUA Sunday Jazz Brunch since its inception.
Her first CD, 1999’s “What
Comes Around” like the new CD featured a mixture of original and
classic music, allowing her to showcase her talent both for writing
clever lyrics and catchy hooks and for tasteful interpretations of
Her courage in putting out
her first CD on an independent label was rewarded by international radio
interest and this release should receive the same interest.
It features the talents of David Sanborn, Fareed Haque, Steve
Rodby and Steve Cole.
Looking at the CD cover and
listening to Carole King’s Sweet Seasons hints at easy-going
country rock and the harmonica really reinforces this impression.
The sweetness of the beautifully recorded vocal means that you
don’t miss a word. A
teaser for things to come...
Subtle horns open A
Shame and this bluesy, tight little song features David Sanborn. You already know by the second song that you’re listening
to class here. Sanborn’s
alto is unmistakeable here and the solo is the icing on an already tasty
The jazz ballad Life
Goes On features a warmer vocal performance and the ornate guitar of
Fareed Haque whose work on this track is described as a “homage to Pat
Metheny”. I couldn’t
have said it better myself! The
lush piano of Ms Lauren overlays the lovely jazz trio setting.
Listen for Jeff Thomas on percussion – he’s working hard
My Own Twist has an
almost African feel but the originality of the musical setting takes
second place to the clever lyric. This, like eight of the ten songs here, is an original
composition. On this song,
like all of them, Ms Lauren sings like she means it.
The beautiful production makes her voice into something you could
It Sucks To Be You
is a gentle slap in the face for people who spend their time feeling
sorry for themselves. The
mournful soprano sax is an echo of the weeping and wailing subtly
parodied here. Clever,
A few slide guitar licks,
and that country rock sound is back for That’s All She Wrote.
It’s tempting to try to pigeonhole this album – but don’t
do it. Try to describe the
music of Ricki Lee Jones, the music of Joni Mitchell – Lisa Lauren is that
A Little Romance
reminds you why. That jazz
trio feel is perfect for this smoky, intimate ballad. Steve Cole’s soprano sax solo brought a lump to my throat.
“Songs about real life” is my best way to describe this type
of music. Moving in its
simplicity – ah, gorgeous!
We all know George
Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun and by now we know Lisa Lauren
too – her classy treatment of the song is all you’d expect.
Hats off to Jim Gailloreto whose sweet soprano sax is a joy.
The wicked sense of humour
hinted at earlier in the album moves up a gear with A Guy Thing.
There’s a rockier sound but it works so well.
Pop radio should be picking up on this right now.
UK jocks, are you listening?
The most intimate of
ballads closes this set. Yours
And Mine weaves acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, piano and strings
around Ms Lauren’s fresh-as-a-daisy, flawless vocal performance.
The sentiments expressed aren’t new, but they are real.
Take a songwriter and
singer with a dazzling talent. Add
a top-flight group of players who know what to leave out so it’s the
song that matters. If your
engineer knows how you feel about your songs, a CD like this is what
results. You’ll still be
hearing it ten years from now...
Planet Jazz Records - Producers Lisa Lauren, Fareed Haque, Scott Steinman
by Chris Mann