It was a can’t-lose proposition: a collaboration between BET’s 2000 Jazz Vocalist of the Year and the legendary Leon Russell.Sure enough, it worked. "Connye Florance…
It was a can’t-lose proposition: a collaboration between BET’s 2000 Jazz Vocalist of the Year and the legendary Leon Russell.
Sure enough, it worked. "Connye Florance," the self-titled new release by this extraordinary singer, seamlessly joins Russell’s talents with those of Florance and pianist Kevin Madill in a real winner.
Aside from a single nod to the past, the CD is filled with new songs to showcase Florance’s silky smooth, richly textured voice. The lone exception is her beautiful rendering of one of Russell’s most famous compositions, "This Masquerade."
The skill behind her masterful interpretation of that song is equally apparent on the CD’s ten other tracks, which match pretty melodies with lyrics exploring love’s manyfacets. The mellow tracks provide the perfect setting for the gem that is Florance’s voice.
A balladeer in essence, she gets ample opportunity to do what she does best on this CD, which includes several especially lovely ballads. Highlights among these include "Seasons" and "Now and Then."
She also gets chances here to show her versatility. Among these are on the Latin rhythms of "After the Rain" and on the funk-inflected "Strange Thing," which also features a soulful organ solo by Madill.
Mark Douthit on saxophone and Roger "Rock" Williams on flute also make noteworthy contributions to this project, as Williams also did to Florance’s memorable debut, "Turn My Heart."
Like it’s predecessor, this self-titled effort delivers pleasurable listening from beginning to end, and over (and over) again.