Monday, September 30, 2013

Theresa Grayson Live2Love L2L 2013

Live2Love is a soulful and soul filled look at pop music and beyond with one of the most exciting contemporary players emerging today!
Brent Black /

I'm tough on contemporary instrumental music, they brought it on themselves. For too long the smoother side of the jazz street has been built around a pretentious self indulgent vibe offering little more than uninspired music best played behind school closings during inclement weather.

Enter Theresa Grayson.

Grayson's Live2Love is an almost perfectly paced conceptualized look at the American pop scene from Aretha Franklin to Sade and from Hall & Oates to Maroon 5. Far more than an above average coverage artist, toss in some wildly creative originals including the first radio single "Afterthoughts" highlighting a prolific ability on soprano sax not to mention the ability to bring the long lost vocal art of scatting back to the modern audience. Who does that? While some of her contemporaries struggle with vocals that are "passable" at best, Grayson is a solid vocalist and uses her ability as flavor and texture without ever seemingly pushing the envelope in search of the elusive crossover hit despite the fact this release contains roughly a half dozen. The retro vibe of "More Pressure" is given a more post modern riff and is fast forwarded to a more modern groove making the old school new cool under the hands of one of the finest first call session players in music today. Another reason the release works is that very fact, not all session artists are leaders but Grayson makes the transition effortlessly. Having a resume that includes artists such as Peter White, Michael Bolton, and Ronnie Laws only deepens the artistry of Grayson and gives her that special edge in cutting a wide sonic path in a rather narrowly focused genre.

Covers? Tired and predictable? Usually but not here as "Smooth Operator" and "Moves Like Jagger" are reharmed, revamped and re imagined to become Grayson's tunes if only for a brief moment in time. Calling a record "entertaining" is critic code similar to being told that fix up has a "nice personality." Live2Love is part of the future of contemporary instrumental music and gives hope that a once maligned genre can pull out of a self induced tailspin and move back up to a level of legitimate viability in an overly crowded market. Theresa Grayson is but one of a handful of artists with the ability to lead the charge for a contemporary revitalization.

I'd buy it...

While the official street date is November 5th, Grayson's website indicates it is available for purchase on itunes.

Tracks: More Pressure; Locked Out Of Heave; Sarah Smile; Smooth Operator; Tonight (Best You Ever Had); Moves Like Jagger; Natural Woman; Spend My Life; Afterthoughts; Close Your Eyes; Just A Little Time; It Never Rains In Souther California.

Personnel: Theresa Grayson: Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Lead & Background Vocal; Terence Fisher: Keyboard, Bass, Drum Programming, Music Programming, Background Vocals; Quincy Cole: Keyboard; Robert Darrett: Drums; Will Curtis: Bass; Karl Johnson: Guitar