Milton Suggs

Things to Come

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Milton Suggs is one of the rare jazz vocalists who writes his own arrangements in addition to originals. He was studying piano in graduate school, but with the encouragement of Wynton Marsalis, he switched to singing. His second CD under his own name is a formidable, wide-ranging outing, showing a sense of adventure, confidence and risk-taking. Suggs' dissonant setting of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is unconventional yet works beautifully with his powerful voice. The young vocalist's refreshing take of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" utilizes a somewhat breezy instrumental backing while retaining the song's sense of mystery. Suggs' composing skills are also impressive, especially his ballads. "Not Forgotten" has a touching lyric with an effective solo by trumpeter Marquis Hill. The equally moving "And I'll Stay" honors the brief relationship between his parents (his father, bassist Milton Suggs, Jr., died from a lung disease when his son was barely a year old), blending Hill's trumpet with Christopher McBride's alto sax in a rich backdrop. "'Cuz I'm in Love with You" is pure soul, with funky guitar and keyboards backing his heartfelt singing. With so many jazz vocalists trying to stand out from the competition, Milton Suggs has made great headway in a relatively short time concentrating on singing.

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