The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

A So­cial Call Jazzmeia Horn Con­cord Rarely does a de­but al­bum ar­rive with such as­sur­ance and high-level tal­ent as vo­cal­ist Jazzmeia Horn’s A So­cial Call. With its 10-track mix of stan­dards, tra­di­tion­als, orig­i­nals and med­leys, the col­lec­tion has the feel of an in­ti­mate live per­for­mance. More than a year of plan­ning went into the prepa­ra­tion for the 26year-old Texan’s de­but record­ing, us­ing a six­piece back­ing group led by pi­anist Vic­tor Gould. Horn’s voice has a brac­ing sense of clar­ity and enor­mous range. It’s no sur­prise that she won the 2015 Th­elo­nious Monk In­sti­tute of Jazz In­ter­na­tional Com­pe­ti­tion. Her ren­di­tion of East of the Sun, along with a cou­ple of scat cho­ruses, fea­tures Gould’s piano solo. An up­tempo ver­sion of I Re­mem­ber You de­liv­ers some smart cho­ruses, plus a fine drum solo from Jerome Jen­nings. Up Above My Head swings smartly, adding Frank Lacy’s trom­bone solo to Horn’s vo­cal. The ti­tle track moves at high speed and show­cases Horn’s im­pro­vised lyrics. There is sto­ry­telling, mes­sage de­liv­ery, recita­tion, fluid vo­cals and scat sing­ing plus spir­ited small group back­ing — and some­times all these styles plus mod­ernistic elec­tron­ics, ev­i­dent in a med­ley in­clud­ing the jazz stan­dard Afro Blue, where per­haps some of the repet­i­tive scat phrase­ol­ogy and high-tre­ble vo­cal ef­fects could have been mod­er­ated to achieve a bet­ter out­come. There are sev­eral great mu­si­cal mo­ments, some of which can be traced to Horn’s vo­cal he­roes: Bobby McFer­rin, Abbey Lin­coln and es­pe­cially Betty Carter. This al­bum an­nounces the ar­rival of an ob­vi­ous new mu­si­cal tal­ent.

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