Listening Room: Lizz Wright returns with "Freedom & Surrender"

[Editor's Note September 15, 2015: Congratulations to Lizz Wright, for hitting #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts with Freedom & Surrender!]

Every generation has its premier vocalists who have such subtlety, range, feel and control that they stay with you long after the song ends.  They have that VOICE:  It's like an elixir, a tonic, a drug for whatever ails you, for whatever you need to celebrate, or endure.  Sinatra had it.  Likewise, Aretha.  Nancy Wilson.  Marvin.  Roberta.  Donny.  Whitney.  Alison Krauss.  And with her own quiet elegance and grace, so does Lizz Wright.  Hers is a voice that we believe will be heard, and embraced, by an even wider audience with her upcoming release on September 4th, Freedom & Surrender, and we are delighted at SoulTracks to be part of it.

[Editor's Note September 15, 2015: Congratulations to Lizz Wright, for hitting #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts with Freedom & Surrender!]

Every generation has its premier vocalists who have such subtlety, range, feel and control that they stay with you long after the song ends.  They have that VOICE:  It's like an elixir, a tonic, a drug for whatever ails you, for whatever you need to celebrate, or endure.  Sinatra had it.  Likewise, Aretha.  Nancy Wilson.  Marvin.  Roberta.  Donny.  Whitney.  Alison Krauss.  And with her own quiet elegance and grace, so does Lizz Wright.  Hers is a voice that we believe will be heard, and embraced, by an even wider audience with her upcoming release on September 4th, Freedom & Surrender, and we are delighted at SoulTracks to be part of it.

Hailing originally from Georgia, where she was schooled early in gospel music by her father, the music director and pianist for their church, Lizz debuted in 2003 with her beautiful, jazz-influenced album, Salt.  Since that record, she has released 3 others, all critically acclaimed, all featuring real instrumentation and devoid of studio gimmickry, and each offering different textures and styles -- from jazz to blues to acoustic folk and back, on her last album, Fellowship, to the more spiritual music of her early training.  Whatever the style or genre, there is authenticity, depth, and soul to Lizz’s every musical step. 

Freedom & Surrender shares her earlier albums' emphasis on organic sounds and pitch-perfect, enchanting vocals and  production, this time with Larry Klein in the producer’s chair, renowned for his work with Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, and most recently, Indra Rios-Moore.  A significant addition to Lizz’s sound palette on this record is the compelling -- and sometimes delightfully hip shakin' -- groove on several tracks:  From the Latin-flavored progressive pulse of album opener, "Freedom,” to  the seductive dance beat of "Lean In," to the swampy guitar and organ vibes laid down in "New Game,” and beyond. We hear a more sultry side of the artist here, stretching out beyond her jazz/blues/folk comfort zone. Also appearing on this album is her first recorded duet, “Right Where You Are,” with Grammy-award winner Gregory Porter, along with lovely covers of Nick Drake’s “River Man” and the Bee Gees' “To Love Somebody” as well as well-crafted new originals featuring co-writers like J.D. Souther, Klein, and David Batteau.   

When Lizz Wright sings, your ears have little choice but to “surrender” to her warmth.   Check out her album below; surrendering never felt so good!  

By Robb Patryk

Lizz Wright - Freedom & Surrender

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Robb Patryk is a partner with Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in New York City who has represented Maysa Leak, Robin Gibb, and many other musicians. 

 
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