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Soul Express CD of the Month - December 2010


Healing Within

US Pacific Coast Jazz, 2010
Buy this album from our CD Shop
1) Healing Within (Blue in Green) 2) Little Sunflower 3) How Can I Begin Again? 4) Can't Explain 5) Perfect World Interlude 6) In a Perfect World 7) Held Hostage 8) Lay Your Body Down 9) I Can't Make You Love Me 10) Amazing Grace 11) Healing Within (Acoustic Version) 12) Where'd It Do

Do you like soulful, full blown vocals, real instruments with loads of saxophone and trumpet? Look no further, Lori Anne Williams' debut set Healing Within offers all that, but you might also ask is this really a soul album or a straight jazz album? It is released on US Pacific Coast Jazz label, sure, but I would say this is very soulful jazz, not only a typcial jazz vocal album, and should not be overlooked by soul lovers only because it's basically a jazz release. I would say that half of the album represent more obvious jazz material, while the other half contains mellow ballad tunes that should highly appeal to soul enthusiasts as well.

That applies also to the jazz covers on the album. The album opens with Lori's readings of Miles Davis / Bill Evans song Blue in Green (retitled as Healing Within, with Lori's own lyrics) from 1959 and Freddie Hubbard's Little Sunflower from 1972, and of the latter is also the most obvious jazz performance on the album. It reminds me of the stuff Phyllis Hyman recorded with McCoy Tyner, which I really loved, and Lori's most jazz-oriented readings are almost as enjoyable. The title track Healing Within offers a serene, relaxed atmosphere full of color and harmony, and the trumpet soloing by Derrick Gardner is the cherry on top. Healing Within, indeed!

The rest of the album is, slightly more soul-oriented, with a relaxed and atmospheric, yet powerful feel, and with a gorgeous jazzy musical setting. A prime example is Lori's own composition How Can I Begin Again?, one of the most impressive new songs I heard last year. It opens with saxophone, and when Lori sings her opening lines, you immediately realise that this is Quality Time music in our Soul Express rating, meaning timeless, classy soul/jazz that will be cherished for years.

Lori has already performed live with artists like Regina Belle, Al Johnson, Gene Chandler, Will Downing, Maysa, Ledisi, Alyson Williams, Kim Waters and Phil Perry, and she would really be most welcome performer to the European jazz festivals as well!

Lori's version of the much covered Bonnie Raitt original I Can't Make You Love Me is another great example that Lori could easily succeed outside jazz circles, if she performed more material like this. Great, smoky performance anyway and far from MOR mediocrity that this could have easily be fallen in wrong hands. The song has been earlier covered by Will Downing, Patti LaBelle and Boyz II Men, amongst many others.

Listen to the sound samples from Lori's own website at

- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

Soul Express Video Pick from YouTube

CD Release Concert for Lori A. Williams

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