In the tightly clustered sorority that is the female jazz singer, Karen Souza may be the only legitimate rising star!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
"The great new voice of jazz" may be a bit presumptuous but one would be hard pressed to find another singer with all the tools of the trade that Karen Souza has in her lyrical arsenal. Tone, phrasing, timing and of course song selection elevate her to the head of a tightly crowded field and quickly!
Essentials II is drawn from all eras of vocal music. An intimate and deceptively subtle sensual riff on a plethora of tunes have Souza making jazz sexy again. The proverbial little black dress of jazz include pop classics such as "Wicked Game" from Chris Issac and "Shape of My Heart" from Sting. Production is spot on and the arrangements simply allow a great talent to move to the next level. The REM tune "Everybody Hurts" is at times jaw dropping not only in the simplicity of melody but for the intimacy displayed in the most public of settings.
This is more than just a cover record, Karen Souza is on display as a lyrical and harmonic freak of nature...and in a good way! One of the most anticipated vocal releases of the year lives up to the hype and that rarely happens!