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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

CD Review: Andrea Wood - Kaleidoscope

(Review by Ann Alex).
Andrea Wood hails from Washington DC where she attended the Duke Ellington School of Arts.  Claiming influences that range from classical composers, soul, R & B singers, through to Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and hip-hop. As well as straight jazz, Ms Wood also sings in other styles such as gypsy jazz and rock regularly performing in and around New York and has released at least one other CD. On this album her voice is full-toned and appealing.  Nine of the 13 tracks are her own original material: the other 4 tracks are You And I (Stevie Wonder); Nature Boy; Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen); and Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.
The musicians are well up to their game, especially Donny McCaslin’s tenor sax and the guitar solos, and the keys do well on You And I.  The bass is noticeably effective playing unaccompanied intros to many of the tracks.  Wood's original compositions are songs of love and loss, with titles such as Intuition; Take A Chance; Parting Ways.  
Having said all that, I’m afraid that the CD as a whole left me feeling dissatisfied.  The original songs needed more of a ‘hook’ to draw me in.  Perhaps too many of the singer’s various influences have been involved in the arrangements – more straight jazz numbers would perhaps have made for a better general ‘feel’. For instance Nature Boy was one of the better tracks.  Or perhaps another style of singing could have been used on all the tracks: for example Call Me Maybe was pleasantly catchy, and the hip-hop of the track Doowop was interesting. There were 2 tracks entitled Interlude which consisted of the stop/start and tearing sounds used by DJs, which seemed out of place on this CD.
The CD is available on the Biophilia Records Label and it was released on July 14. 
Ann Alex.
Andrea Wood (vocals, arrangements); Angelo Di Loreto (piano, fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3); Ollie Hirvonen (guitars); Ethan O’Reilly (elec and acc bass, vocals); Phillipe Lemm (drums, perc, vocals); also Donny McCaslin (tenor sax); Nick Wood (production on some tracks, vocals); Andrew Sheron (vocals, elec bass, post-production)

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