When jazzy sisters meet to spend some time together, the result can be found in the highly intelligent and welcoming "The Mosaic Project", a compilation from Boston drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.
Some of the A-list female jazz musicians are on hand to lend their talent and it goes without saying that this compilation could very well become a favorite with the female audience; the male listeners would cling to its seductive vocals and melodies.
The musicians who lend their talent to this incredible CD include Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Nona Hendryx, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gretchen Parlato, Carmen Lundy, Esperanza Spalding and Geri Allen, Sheila E among others.
Nona Hendryx opens the 14 song set with the lyrically potent "Transformation", a track that takes you through highs and lows musically. The track is where neo-soul and jazz meets and is truly delightful. The first track is every indication that while the foundation of this CD is jazz, the materials used in constructing it tastefully incorporates many genres.
Vocalist Gretchen Parlato is on hand with the Irving Berlin "I Got Lost in His Arms" and it is an instant favorite. Gretchen's airy and purely sensual vocals float over a track that is mellow one minute and edgy the next, the latter thanks to the use of electric guitars.
The Beatles' "Michelle" has found its way as an unofficial jazz standard and this version does not disappoint. This is straight-ahead jazz at its finest as the musicians individual work each take center stage in a series of solo efforts here. Terri Lynne's skilled drum work keeps time for Geri Allen on piano and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet.
Relive the civil rights era with poignant Bernice Johnson Reagon penned "Echo", a track which features opening commentary by activist Angela Davis and strong vocals by Dianne Reeves. The lyrics here are thought-provoking: "You can steal my tongue/ I dare you to try and hush my song/ my streams of freedom will flow the air/ of your children centuries unborn.
Esperanza Spalding shows why she is a Grammy Award winner on the enchanting and contagious "Unconditional Love", a track that was written by Geri Allen. Esperanza's vocals are innocent and dripping honey as it further sweetens this beguiling melody, her bass work here is also worth hearing.
Later, Esperanza returns on the clever and fun track "Crayola", a happy-go-lucky melodically-infused song which matches her carefree personality.
Elsewhere on the CD you can hear Dee Dee Bridgewater on "Soul Talk" and Cassandra Wilson on "Simply Beautiful." "Magic and Music" is a stirring tribute to late singer Teena Marie and one can really get into the meaty and musically rich "Mosaic Triad" featuring Helen Sung's finger sprint on the keyboards.
"Show Me the Sign" featuring Carmen Lundy may be the shortest track on the CD but it holds a lot of integrity and feeling. The drums featured on here take on a life of its own, it's hard not to experience goose bumps while listening to it. It is the perfect song for a CD closer.