This album reinforces Wright’s place as one of the most iconic vocalists in jazz today, particularly as a musician who respects and admires the musicians that surround and inspire her.

Blues & Greens Records

Lizz Wright: vocals; Adam Levy: guitar; Kenny Banks: piano; Rashaan Carter: acoustic bass; Abe Rounds: drums; Kenny Banks Sr: piano, B3; Angelique Kidjo: vocals (1); Tina Basu: violin (1, 6); Arun Ranamurthy: Carnatic violin (1, 6); Chris Bruce: guitars, Rhodes, percussion (1-6, 8-11); Deantoni Parks: acoustic, electronic drums (1-5, 7-11); Meshell Ndegeocello: bass (2); Brandee Younger: harp (2); Glenn Patscha: Rhodes, B3 (2, 5, 6, 8); Kenny Banks Sr: piano, B3; Lynne Earls: Wurlitzer, baritone acoustic guitar, hand percussion (3); Melissa Park: cello (7, 11); Katherine Hughes: violin (7, 11); Jeff Young: viola (7, 11); Elizabeth Brathwaite: violin (1-11).

Lizz Wright boldly reaches a new milestone in her 20-year solo career, with the release of her ninth album Shadow. This stands as her first release with her new label Blues and Greens Records, who aim to help artists ‘build sustainable and wholesome careers’. Wright remains one of the most iconic vocalists in jazz, with her sultry smooth melodies and emotive delivery. The album is built on an assortment of 5 original tracks and various old favourites, written by the likes of Cole Porter, Caitlin Canty, Toshi Reagon, Sandy Denny and Gillian Howard Welch. The album synthesizes R&B, jazz, folk, blues, and gospel, carried by its diverse stylistic choices which make each song its own. These stunning songs encapsulate Wright’s extensive and varied career, bringing together some of the most prominent musicians in the scene to deliver her artistry.

The album begins with the undeniably bluesy, fusion number ‘Sparrow’, sung alongside Grammy Award-winning singer Angélique Kidjo. The song is built on the multi-lingual relationship between Wright’s meandering melodies and Kidjo’s brief vocal exclamations. This works up to the climactic ending where Wright repeats: ‘We gonna rise up singing’, a reference to one of the lines in Gershwin’s legendary standard, ‘Summertime’. Throughout Wright’s career, we see her paying tribute to the jazz greats that stood before her, and this sneaky reference is no different.

‘Your Love’ features two incredible musicians: bassist Meshell Ndegeocello and harpist Brandee Younger. This tune feels so powerful and unapologetically woman-led; a wonderful celebration of what women in jazz have to offer.

Wright’s story-telling lyrics are present throughout the album but come into their own in ‘Root of Mercy’, a psalm-like track which highlights Wright’s soothing tone and it’s driving force in telling a tale.

‘Lost In The Valley’ is a particular standout moment on the album, written by Caitlin Canty and featuring Trina Basu and Arun Ramamurthy. This track feels like a completely different stylistic venture, with Ramamurthy’s swelling violin solo becoming reminiscent of the whine of a sitar.

Wright’s cover of ‘I Concentrate on You’ is stunningly romantic and sweet, centering the listener on these themes of love which are always so present in Cole Porter’s writing.

The wonderful simplicity of a lot of these tracks allows us to dig deeper into Wright’s musical approach, bringing our attention to her formidable vocal control and delivery. This album reinforces Wright’s place as one of the most iconic vocalists in jazz today, particularly as a musician who respects and admires the musicians that surround and inspire her.