Tara Darnell

Let It Shine

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AllMusic Review by

As a glance at the musician credits on this recording indicates, New Orleans vocalist Tara Darnell travels between the worlds of gospel and jazz. Her fellow travelers are some of the top musical artists in the Crescent City. The personnel includes outstanding gospel musicians, such as the talented Michael Robinson, from Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church, on keyboards; the late Sammy Berfect on piano; and Pamela Landrum on vocals. Jazz artists include, among others, Cornell Williams on bass; Alonzo Bowens on tenor sax; Anthony Brown on guitar; and Kevin Wharton on drums. They get together here to mix it up on one great set of music, fronted by the marvelous voice of Darnell. One note and you know this young woman grew up in the church. But she's been out in the world too, and all those influences go into a voice that is full and rich, with the nuances that go with life experience, seemingly far beyond her years. Nowhere is that more apparent than on her soulful rendition of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child." Darnell can sing the blues too, as on her cover of "The Thrill Is Gone." She creates a romantic mood with "Summertime" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" The multi-talented artist penned two of the CD's numbers: the title cut and "I'll Be Here for You." But the gospel sound is never far from her heart, as can be heard on the joyful finale: "Amazing Grace" and the "Gospel Medley." The listener's heart is sure to be lifted too by this up-and-coming diva from New Orleans.

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