Listening to Carmen Lundy "live" on Jazz and the New Songbook: Live at the Madrid is truly a remarkable experience and solidifies the adage that she is in a class all her own. On this exceptional two-disc set, the multi-talented vocalist performs 18 of her original compositions accompanied by some of the music world's most talented musicians. Recorded February 18, 2005, at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, the concert opens with the hit song "In Love Again," the optimistic ode to romance that was previously released on Something to Believe In. Lundy's multi-octave range is fluid, sensuous, and sexy. It is captivating as it floats with seductive nuance and swinging rhythms. "Better Days," originally heard on Carmen's Self Portrait CD, opens with Curtis Lundy laying down an alluring bassline, anchored by Victor Lewis' drums and great comping by David Roitstein's keyboards, Phil Upchurch's guitar, and the Los Angeles String Quartet. With a range from soprano to contralto, the tones of her voice flow like the fluid strokes of a paintbrush on a canvas as listeners are treated to the pure ambience of Lundy's potent lyricism, delivered with a powerful voice that urges you to just hang in there. "Wild Child" is another passionate masterwork that features the high-powered upper registers and full bottom registers of Lundy's great voice. A double trio, impeccably complementing her inspired rendition, backs her. Mark Shim's soprano sax solo and the great improvisations by the double trio definitely take this song to another level. Steve Turre's conch shell work on "Afrasia" is truly a crowd-pleaser as he introduces the exotic vocals of Lundy and Krystal Davis Williams, who invoke the myriad names given to God in many different cultures. This beautiful prayer is truly indicative of Lundy's exceptional prowess and spiritual connections. Disc two features several songs from This Is Carmen Lundy, including "All Day, All Night," "Send Me Somebody to Love," and "I Dream in Living Color." Bonus tracks include three highly popular Lundy songs whose "official" 48-track concert recordings were lost due to a power surge on that rainy night in Los Angeles. Overall, this double-disc set houses a great mix of ballads, straight-ahead jazz, Latin, fusion, and funk that showcases Carmen Lundy's amazing voice and compositional integrity. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2