And thank goodness for it.
She brings a great cast of artists along with her. With Liz’s vocal are Piano: Daniel Clarke, Bass: Chris Brydge, Drums: Emre Kartari, Guitar: Alan Parker and Saxophone: Eddie Williams. These guys know how to cook.
Her song selection allows Liz to showcase her range of expression and her widespread influences—everything from Cyndi Lauper to Cole Porter to Thelonious Monk—and she owns them all. Her Fats Waller Medley is full of wit and whimsey and a healthy dose of allure in Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Jitterbug Walz, and Honeysuckle Rose. Daniel Clarke adds beautiful piano work there and everywhere else on the album.
But she throws in some lesser know pieces, as well. I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life is making Cy Coleman and Joseph McCarthy (not that one) happy someplace.
The Cole Porter numbers It’s All Right with Me and Night and Day are splendidly rendered by Liz and the band. One would imagine that she was raised on Cole Porter, she owns it that well. She proves over and again that she belongs in Jazz.
With Blue Monk, she takes on Abbey Lincoln’s fabulous lyrics while Clarke’s piano and Chris Brydge’s bass get remarkable features, along with Alan Parker on guitar. Blue Monk contains some of the coolest instrumental moments on the album.
Throw in the contemporary artists like Elvis Costello (Almost Blue) and Cyndi Lauper (Time After Time) and you get to see Liz transform Pop into Jazz without doing violence to the original artists’ intent. Then she takes on those old standards like Ellington’s Don’t Get Around Much Anymore and Steve Kuhn’s The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers and breathes fresh life into them.
She wraps the album with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic, What the World Needs Now. The prophetic words, so many meaningful in 1965, are even more important for us today and Liz sings it like she means it…and like we need it.
In other words, Liz Terrell has the singular talent for adapting and adopting Jazz, Pop, and/or Blues into songs that cast a bright light on the world of Jazz, the world we live in, and the world we want. Liz provides the clarion voice to point the way and encourage us on the path.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl