Featured Artist: Anjani
CD Title: Blue Alert
Record Label: Columbia Records
Style: Folk Jazz
Musicians: Anjani Thomas (vocals, piano), John Lissauer (baritone saxophone, clarinet, keyboards), Greg Liesz (lap steel guitar), Danny Frankel (drums), Bruce Dukov (violin), Brian Leonard (violin), Pam Goldsmith (viola), Larry Corbett (cello)
Anjani Thomas along with the renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, have compiled a listening experience that will surely appeal to fans of Norah Jones or Diana Krall’s The Girl Next Door, with the Columbia records release of Blue Alert.
Thomas has slowly moved from a backing musician to an equal collaborator with Cohen over the past 20 years. On Cohen’s Dear Heather, Thomas played piano and sang as Cohen’s equal and co-wrote two of the songs, all of which has led to the protégé’s debut with Blue Alert.
Thomas’s alto voice is clear and sultry, with a mixture of country, folk, and cabaret influences that deliver a convincing story that is pleasing and digestible by a wide audience. The accompaniment is kept to a minimum with the emphasis being placed on Thomas’s voice and the story being told. The result is an exposed softness that is perfect for lovers and quiet moments. Thomas said, "As Leonard explained, my voice takes up a large part of the bandwidth and the more (instruments) you introduce into that, the more it detracts from it (the voice).”
The country folk low key overtone is keep throughout the project. The subjects described are easily related to and should appeal to a wide audience of listeners. “Thanks for the Dance,” set to a folk styled waltz-time rhythm, deals with short pleasurable moments in love and the many possibilities that could have been realized in a longer romance. “The Golden Gate” takes a look back at fond memories with a positive reflection and spirit.
Thomas, a Berklee College of Music alumnus, started paying her dues in the jazz clubs of New York City. However, taking the standard road did not speak to her heart. In an interview with The Montreal Gazette, Thomas honestly conveys that, "I had the hardest time singing jazz standards with conviction. I always felt my voice was too young, or I just didn't have enough wisdom. It's not that I couldn't technically nail it, but I didn't like the sound of my voice singing those lyrics."
Anjani Thomas has found her own unique voice with a little help from a friend, Leonard Cohen. If Norah Jones’s style of music speaks to your heart or any CD with well written lyrics sung with honesty and conviction, than Blue Alert will be a great find and addition to the CD collection.
Tracks: Blue Alert, Innermost Door, The Golden Gate, Half the Perfect World, Nightingale, No One After You, Never Got to Love You, The Mist, Crazy to Love You, and Thanks for the Dance
Record Label Website: http://www.bluealertmusic.com
Artist's Website: http://anjani-music.com
Reviewed by: H. Allen Williams
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