Melissa Walker

I Saw the Sky

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

I Saw the Sky is Melissa Walker's third release for Enja Records and features 11 compositions penned by notable songwriters from a vast array of musical styles. From standards by the great Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer to originals by Walker, Nina D'Alessandro, Kenny Barron, Shedrick Mitchell, and Andrew "Tex" Allen, the music selected for this CD provides an excellent vehicle for Walker's vocal prowess. She attracts your attention immediately with her impeccable phrasing and resonance that is reminiscent of a young Sarah Vaughan on "I'm Old Fashioned." Kenny Barron's solo adds a nice touch of piano magic to Clarence Penn's arrangement. Together, they take this song off of memory lane and turn it into a great 21st century jazz experience. Walker's interpretation of "Some Other Time" is beautiful. She floats through this song with ease as Larry Willis' signature string arrangement adds another layer of emotion to Walker's lovely vocals and her ability to hold a note effortlessly through the fade. "Return to Me" is a sensitive ballad that evokes passionate memories. Walker's voice surrounds the lyrics with tenderness and that special feeling that gives meaning to the mysteries of love. I Saw the Sky succeeds on several levels where Moment of Truth lingered. Walker's compositional integrity has improved and her choice of accompanying musicians, arrangers, and composers for this CD are among some of the best in the jazz world. If there is any truth to the old saying "The third time is a charm," then Melissa Walker is definitely having her shining hour on I Saw the Sky.

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