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Lori Williams – Out of the Box

Aug. 19, 2018

Like a breath of sweet midnight island air, renowned jazz vocalist Lori Williams saunters in on this latest recording entitled Out of the Box. Moving smoothly, lightly, soulfully, and, of course, with a jazzy aura, she offers 15 tracks of musical bliss.

Noted for her straight-ahead jazz offerings, Williams has decided to embark upon the path of contemporary jazz, displaying her majestic vocals on such soul-jazz-rich tracks as the title track (featuring bassmaster Nathan East), “Where’s That Smile?” (featuring the pairing of two incomparables – Maysa and Will Downing), the mid-tempo and sassy “Hold On,” the slow, beautiful, and sultry “Our Love Is Real” (oh, please break out the candlelight and wine for this), and a cover of Isaac Hayes’ “Déjà Vu,” delivered with that breezy, Dionne Warwick airy manner. Not abandoning her straight-ahead roots, the artist also offers nicely-arranged covers of “round Midnight” and “Little Girl Blue.”

C-jazz pianist/composer/producer Bob Baldwin offers his instrumental and compositional talents here, as well, and it certainly shows.

Williams says of this project, “When you reach the milestone of 50, many things begin to cross your mind. Out of the Box is a delicate breakaway from me being stereotyped as ‘Lori only does this’ – this being Straight-Ahead jazz. For me to be recognized and respected within that music has ben quite an accomplishment, but there is more to me. Out of the Box is a Neo-Soul Jazz project…It’s feel good music with catchy lyrics that people can remember and walk away singing.” What she said.

This transition from straight-ahead to contemporary jazz should be well-received by not only c-jazz aficionados but straight-ahead fans, as well, who can only marvel at the ease, confidence, and versatility with which she can approach the entire jazz experience. – Ronald Jackson