Lizz Wright

Salt

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Vocalist Lizz Wright delivers jazz that harks back to such luminaries as Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln on her debut Verve release, Salt. Still in her early twenties, Wright has a warm, dusky voice reminiscent of Cassandra Wilson and similarly to Wilson seems interested in tackling an eclectic mix of jazz standards, traditional folk, and R&B. Early on, a folky afterglow-Latin version of "Afro Blue" takes center stage followed by the gorgeous "Soon as I Get Home," which betters the version from The Wiz. Wright fairs equally well as a songwriter with about half the album filled with her soaring, bluesy ballads. There is a melancholy yet positive '70s vibe that eminates from songs like "Fire," which resonates lyrically as well as melodically much like the personal/sociopolitical writing of another of Wright's obvious inspirations, Terry Callier. Perhaps a little too low-key to register very high on the pop radio scale, but invested with enough sanguine emotionality and chops to make Salt easily recommended to fans of the neo-soul movement.

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