Ava Lemert — From My Soul

New vocalist/saxophonist Ava Lemert is an artist who’s clearly excited about her debut releClick to buy or listenase, From My Soul, and that excitement was alive and well in the studio as she recorded this effort. Such energy, zest, and drive make this young lady one to watch. The album simply drips with enthusiasm, clearly from her soul, and it’s plain to see (or hear) that she wants you to know she was having a party in the studio throughout the entire time that she was laying down the tracks for this collection of well-produced R&B-laced smooth nuggets.

After a sweetly seductive opening track entitled “You Know You Got It,” she cuts loose on a Candy Dulfer-like funkster, “I Want to Funk It Up.” With a title like that, you really need to be able to “bring it,” and “bring it” she does. Nice way to break the ice and cozy up to jazzers. O.k., so I think the vocals on this one track weren’t quite pitch-perfect in spots (hmm, I sound like Randy Jackson or Simon Cowell!), but that does nothing to slow this artist’s groove and pace, as she climbs back in the saddle and continues her seduction. She then slows down the pace to a syrupy, sexy crawl with a very nice and soulful piece called “Rhodelea.” Umm, umm, umm! is all I could muster on this one.

The party continues, and, on one of my favs—“That 70’s Girl”—she makes it obvious that she knows her way around a good groove with her sax, and “Nothing Looks the Same in the Night,” with her whispery, suggestive vocals (and the lady has nice pipes, by the way), is simply made to be played in the thick ambience of a romantic evening with your love-mate.

Lemert seems to have a really good handle of how to give the sax that special allure and personality that are so popular in smooth jazz. It doesn’t hurt that she can compose effectively, as well, as I thoroughly enjoyed the melodies and hooks. Sexy, driven, and excited. With that combination in her suitcase, Ava Lemert has demonstrated that she’s not dropping by for a visit, but plans to stay for quite awhile. After they’ve had a listen, I suspect that smooth jazzers will have no problem laying down the “welcome” mat. — Ronald Jackson