Live Performance Review: Lizz Wright Dazzles at Lincoln Center

New York City, February 15, 2018 – There are some artists who are simply special. A cut above their peers, with skills so breathtaking, deep, and apparently effortless, you often marvel that anyone could be that gifted. By any measure, the ethereal singer and songwriter Lizz Wright is just such an artist. She is, to my ear, the finest pure vocalist of her generation, and one of greatest singers in the history of popular music. Hearing Lizz’s recordings is divine, but I know from experience that seeing her live is something much more, a treasure. So when Lizz performed recently on Valentine’s Day in my hometown as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, I made sure I was there, front and center. Like other of her performances I’ve had the privilege to attend, it was an evening of transcendent, beautifully-rendered music by an artist at the very top of her game.   

New York City, February 15, 2018 – There are some artists who are simply special. A cut above their peers, with skills so breathtaking, deep, and apparently effortless, you often marvel that anyone could be that gifted. By any measure, the ethereal singer and songwriter Lizz Wright is just such an artist. She is, to my ear, the finest pure vocalist of her generation, and one of greatest singers in the history of popular music. Hearing Lizz’s recordings is divine, but I know from experience that seeing her live is something much more, a treasure. So when Lizz performed recently on Valentine’s Day in my hometown as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, I made sure I was there, front and center. Like other of her performances I’ve had the privilege to attend, it was an evening of transcendent, beautifully-rendered music by an artist at the very top of her game.   

Supported by virtuoso musicians – her musical director Kenny Banks (piano), Marvin Sewell (guitar), Brannen Temple (drums) and Nicholas D’Amato (bass) -- who have performed with her over 10 years, Lizz’s set included selections from her last several albums, with particular emphasis on her latest, the superb (and aptly-titled), Grace. It was a delightful, and often emotional, tour through American roots music, from folk to jazz to blues and beyond, all anchored by Lizz’s sublime, warm and nuanced contralto. There were many highlights, but my favorite moment was when Lizz’s friend and collaborator Toshi Reagon, who was onstage and had just performed a song in which she and Lizz traded lead vocals on the verses, asked Lizz to do the song again, alone, just so that Toshi could listen to her sing it. Imagine that, having a voice so special that your peers who’ve heard you for years still can’t get enough.  That sums up the talented Lizz Wright, SoulTrackers. She is now on tour, so run, don’t walk, to see her when she comes to town.  The experience will linger in memory.

By Robb Patryk

See Lizz’s remaining tour dates here

 
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