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Embraceable

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 30, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With the release of her fifth album Embraceable on August 23rd, 2011 Nicole Henry fosters her audience worldwide with caressing grace. The record is produced by Grammy nominated artist Matt Pierson, joined by 20 further musicians, among them saxophonist Kirk Whalum, guitarists Julian Lage, Jef Lee Johnson and Larry Campbell, Gerald Clayton (piano), Shedrick Mitchell (organ), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Larry Grenadier (bass), Eric Harland (drums), Bashiri Johnson (percussion), and Gil Goldstein (piano).

Review

With the release of her fifth album, Embraceable, vocalist Nicole Henry pleasingly brings together a range of styles smooth and mainstream jazz, along with pop and gospel.

A roster of musicians from diverse jazz backgrounds are featured on various tracks, with standouts including saxophonist Kirk Whalum, harmonicist Gregoire Maret and pianists John Stoddart and Britain's Oli Rockberger, who all contribute mightily. Among the albums's 12 selections, there are four new numbers including three Stoddart gems, and eight standards on which Henry puts her stamp.

Henry kicks off with a dreamy version of Mann/Weil's Just A Little Lovin, with Maret's languorous harmonica creating the mood. The ambiance continues with Stoddart's soulful ballad, Anything For You, which builds to a throbbing finish.

Whalum's lush tenor warms up a rocking version of Buddy Johnson's Since I Fell for You. With Richard Jones' Trouble In Mind, Henry gives tribute to Aretha Franklin, as Rockberger's solid blues piano brings home its soulful message. On Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain, the singer subjugates its classic reggae beat, but Maret's harmonica more than compensates as it weaves in and out behind her plaintive voice.

Hitting her peak with Gershwin's Embraceable you, Henry offers a romantic toast to this staple from The Great American Songbook. She brings it back to the church with her fervid preaching on Stoddart's A Little Time Alone, as Whalum's wailing sax urges her on from the choir.

The album ends simply, with Christina Aguilera's Save Me From Myself, Henry's unadorned voice caressing the lyrics, accompanied majestically by Stoddart. Henry's stated mission with this record is to take large steps in new directions, and she accomplishes this with a sweet, accessible voice that serves up lyrical ballads, as well as dishing out large helpings of soulful blues and gospel. --Larry Taylor of All About Jazz

Embraceable continues a trend of artists putting considerable thought into projects featuring pop standards. It features covers that have not been done to death and a new and attractive sheen on some well-loved songs. Embraceable also includes originals that sport top-flight lyrics and musical arrangements that draw from the church, the blues club and the Broadway stage. On all of this, Nicole Henry and her collaborators strike a great balance and Henry proves herself to be a fine interpreter and song stylist. --Howard Dukes of Soul Music

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Product details

  • Audio CD (August 30, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BANISTER RECORDS
  • ASIN: B005FGYV8Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,642 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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