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Soul Express Album of the Month

May 2005

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Check also the review of Lori Jenaire's 2008 album Fruition


Within Reach

(US Goddess, 2004)
Lori Jenaire’s CD Within Reach must have been the best kept secret in the quality soul circles recently, but now this self-released album is finally starting to get more exposure in the media.

On her Website, Lori is introduced as “rapidly carving her niche in the world neo-jazz/soul”. The Chicago native is compared to legendary soul and jazz singers like Sarah Vaughn, Anita Baker and Phyllis Hyman. And indeed, the comparisons with Phyllis are more than apt especially on a ballad titled Magic Mona, which is a film tune Phyllis Hyman originally recorded in 1979, and Phyllis’ version was recently included in Phyllis’ Expansion CD In Between the Heartaches. The old Thom Bell song (from Stylistics’ repertoire) You’re as Right as Rain as well as the Rayford Griffin –produced Anything also closely echoes Phyllis’ ballad style. The last mentioned boasts an excellent musical backdrop crowned by a gorgeous trombone solo.

Even more spellbinding on Lori’s album is, though, her version of the Angela Bofill song Under the Moon and Over the Sky (originally from Angie’s 1978 debut set), on which the luscious jazzy backing strongly reminds me of Fertile Ground at their very best. A splendid track which was finally nominated as the number one song in our own Quality Time Top 50 of 2004!

Other tracks worth noting include the melodious mid-ballad The Way You Love Me, at least equally catchy Don’t Need to Know, the stylish opener If You Were Mine and the magical self-written I Do, on which John Hart plays the superb jazzy bass lines. In other magazines, some critics have reviewed the CD as if it were straight jazz, but in fact this is no more jazz oriented than any typical Phyllis Hyman or Angela Bofill album – the only track that belongs to the “real jazz” category is Lori’s version of the old jazz standard I Wish You Love, which is set in a classic acoustic jazz trio setting (drums, bass and saxophone). As such, it’s a more than a successful interpretation.

Another essential purchase!
-Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express, editor

Albums of the Month in 2004
Albums of the Month in 2003
Albums of the Month in 2002
Albums of the Month in 2001
Albums of the Month in 2000
Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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