Lizz Wright, Shadow Review


Lizz Wright, Shadow Review

by Stamish Malcuss

Liz-Wright-Jazz-Sensibilities-CDLizz Wright’s studio album Shadow explores her vocal artistry and musical vision, set for release on April 12, 2024. The album is a rich tapestry of soulful melodies, intimate lyrics, and collaborative genius, particularly highlighted in the second single from the album, “Your Love,” which features the exceptional talent and the unique contributions of Meshell Ndegeocello and Brandee Younger.

“Your Love” shows Wright’s adeptness at blending genres, weaving blues, gospel, and jazz elements into a compelling R&B groove. The track opens with the unmistakable rhythm of Ndegeocello’s bass—deep, resonant, and perfectly in the pocket—setting the stage for a musical experience that’s grounding in its pulse and transcendent in its melodic unfolding. Younger’s harp punctuates the arrangement, adding a layer of ethereal beauty that elevates the song beyond its roots.

Wright’s vocal delivery on “Your Love” is profoundly expressive and imbued with soul, bearing a distinct resonance of her gospel roots melded seamlessly with the expansive expressiveness of jazz and soul music. The straightforward structure of the song invites listeners to sink into its medium-slow groove, enabling a deep appreciation for the delicate equilibrium between Wright’s voice and the accompanying instrumentation. The chorus, enriched by opulent vocal harmonies, demonstrates Wright’s remarkable capacity to dominate the listener’s attention with her commanding presence. An A cappella phrase, gracefully positioned at the conclusion of the chorus, serves to underscore the sheer beauty and purity of her vocal tone.

Beyond “Your Love,” Shadow as a whole is a celebration of Wright’s evolution as an artist and touches on themes of intimacy, loss, community, and healing resonate throughout its tracks, reflecting Wright’s personal journey and her reflections on love and grief. Her collaboration with Angelique Kidjo, Meshell Ndegeocello, and other talented musicians adds depth and diversity to the project, making it a collaborative triumph.

Produced by Chris Bruce and recorded with engineer Ryan Freeland, Shadow benefits from a production approach that prioritizes authenticity and emotional honesty. Wright’s decision to release the album on her own label, Blues & Greens Records, free from external pressures, has allowed her to craft a work that is true to her vision and voice. This independence is evident in the album’s sound, which is both polished and profoundly personal.

The anticipation for Shadow is heightened by Wright’s innovative approach to music and her commitment to creating a sustainable, artist-centered ecosystem through Blues & Greens Records. Her dedication to uplifting humanity through music and sound business practices is a model for the industry.

In conclusion, “Your Love” highlights what is to come in Shadow, encapsulating the essence of Wright’s artistry—her ability to blend genres, her emotive vocal delivery, and her collaboration with like-minded artists. As Wright celebrates 20 years of musical excellence, Shadow offers listeners a deeply resonant and enriching musical experience, all led by Wright’s ever-soulful and powerful voice.

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