Thursday, September 11, 2008
CD Review: Alyssa Graham - Echo
Alyssa Graham - Echo
2008, Sunnyside/Walrus Records
Alyssa Graham is a world-traveler both physically and musically. With a strong base in Jazz, Graham embraces the tides and tendrils of Pop and Brazilian rhythms. Having visited every continent but Antarctica, Graham has an organic relationship with the sounds and rhythms she incorporates into her music. The result is a synthesis that goes composition and becomes creation. Alyssa Graham's sophomore release, entitled Echo, was released in July of 2008, and you have to hear this.
I could take several pages alone to expound upon Alyssa Graham's voice. She has this amazingly smooth alto that is warm and inviting and will draw you into a song. On Echo she personifies its namesake from Roman mythology. Voice aside, Graham has put together a crack band capable of moving from style to style and mood to mood without a second thought. Echo is one of the more sonically satisfying albums I've come across in 2008.
There is a story behind one of the songs on Echo that is quite intriguing as well. Involved Again was originally written for Billie Holliday by the great Jack Reardon. Unfortunately Holliday passed away before she had the chance to record Involved Again, and the song was locked away for half a century. Upon hearing Graham's debut CD, What Love Is, Reardon realized that the right voice had finally come along. Reardon contacted Alyssa Graham, and Involved Again is likely destined to be a jazz standard.
Echo is a wonderful album. Graham pulls off material that many other artists wouldn't contemplate. Pictures Of You is one of the loveliest ballads you'll hear in 2008. Echo is a wonderfully introspective and intense song about the ghosts of love lost. Graham's cover of I Burn For You is more sensuous and glowing than The Police original. She also covers Simon & Garfunkel's America with a version that might be even more melodically expressive than the fine cover done by Yes several years back. Other highlights include Once Upon A Summertime and Izaura.
Alyssa Graham has tremendous potential commercially, both in Jazz and Adult Contemporary circles as well as in the world of licensing. She's the sort of artist who could have been commercially successful anytime in the last forty years. Don't be surprised to see that she becomes the sort of artist that other artists line up to work with. Echo will linger with you long after the CD stops spinning. A Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc it is.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Alyssa Graham at http://www.alyssagraham.com/. You can purchase Echo through Amazon.com or as a download through iTunes.