Lauren Desberg – Sideways & Twenty First Century Problems

When it comes to jazz singers, some musicians keep the status quo like Diane Krall, some venture into unexplored territories like Cassandra Wilson, others transcend the barriers of genre like Gregory Porter and Will Downing , than they are those raconteurs like Esperanza Spalding, who want to introduce the genre to those listeners under 30, another innovator in the vein of all these artists is Lauren Desberg. I first heard of her on Rahdu’s recently released “Covers 6” where she puts a whole new spin on Usher’s “ U Remind Me” which is an utter revelation. This made me want to dig into who she was and got me to her first two albums.
Her first album” Sideways “released in 2012, was very reminiscent of Melody Gardot, in some songs, one of them being “You Go to My head” which was a duet with Gretchen Parlato. Her vocals caresses the music played around her in almost every track, she even gives “I Wanna Be Like You” a smooth new twist, while effortlessly transmitting all the voodoo a beautiful voice like hers can emit in her reinterpretation of “Mister Magic”. She finishes the EP, with” Come Running to me”  a nice anchor, showcasing her love for jazz of the 50s, evoking  Diane Shore on this flawless track.
On her newest CD, “Twenty First century Problems”, where she furthers her mission with her music, beginning the full length LP with “Can’t Stop the Show”, which elevates the listener above the clouds, floating on her vocals and the trumpeter’s magnificent play. She continues her updates of jazz standards like “Lie to Me”, a definite must listen. She reinterprets the Bee Gees classic song, which was remade by Portrait back in the day, but I much prefer her version, as she does what most singers only hope to ascend to, for the listener to feel their words. She hits another cover out of the park with the essential Whispers joint, ”Rock Steady”, definitely would make Wallace and Walter Scott proud. She even gets down right hypnotic on “Angel Eyes”, drawing the listener on a wild ride. Overall, her music is saturated with flowing vocals and an excellent backing band, she is one for you not to miss.

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