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Divinely Layered Soul and Jazz
Haunting Creole Infused Americana
- Sunday, Nov 5, 2017
BOX OFFICE 612-332-5299
Leyla McCalla Media
With Special Guest Leyla McCalla
About Lizz Wright
Lizz Wright has been charming music fans worldwide ever since she appeared on the late pianist and composer Joe Sample’s 2002 disc, The Pecan Tree. The following year, she gained even wider recognition for her critically acclaimed debut record, Salt. Produced by the legendary Tommy LiPuma – best known for his award-winning work with George Benson, Diana Krall, and Natalie Cole – the album helped introduce one of the most captivating female vocalists of her generation as it raced to number two on Billboard’s “Top Contemporary Jazz” chart.
Wright was born in the small town of Hahira, Georgia. A preacher’s kid, she sang during most services, and it is there, deep in the joy of ministry, that one can find the roots of the voice and spirit that so captivates listeners. With peculiar focus, she seamlessly weaves through the genres of gospel, jazz, folk, pop, and blues, handling them like colors on a palette. Ultimately, it is the voice, the stories told and the call to connect that transcend categorization and stir her audiences.
Wright’s next two records, Dreaming Wide Awake (2005) and The Orchard (2008), saw her continue to grow artistically, as she delved deeper into songwriting. The tune “Hit The Ground” was an indication of Wright’s evolution as a storyteller, and it helped propel Dreaming Wide Awake to number one on Billboard’s “Top Contemporary Jazz” chart.
Wright’s 2010 disc, Fellowship, found her drawing deeply from the wellspring of her years singing in church. She delivered poignant readings of gospel classics such as “God Specializes,” “Sweeping Through the City,” and “Amazing Grace.” Still, Wright didn’t stick too rigidly to traditional gospel material. Her broad perspective and a desire to tell her story allowed her to find the spiritual in comparatively secular material like Gerry Goffin and Barry Goldberg’s “(I’ve Got to Use My) Imagination” – a big hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips – Jimi Hendrix’s “In From the Storm,” and Meshell Ndegeocello and Bob Marley’s “Fellowship.”
In the years after Fellowship, Wright continued to tour extensively, and branched out musically with her studies of hand percussion, adding it into the live set to the rapturous approval of her fans.
The impressionable journey of making records and touring to support them ensures that no artist is the same for their fifth record as they were for their first. Wright’s soaring arc of growth and expanding expression has been the public weaving of an intricate and colorful tapestry. For her fifth project, supported by the brilliance, wisdom, and friendship of Larry Klein, Wright’s own fulfillment and enjoyment from the process are evident. She is gifted with an extraordinary instrument, and Freedom & Surrender allows Wright to illuminate her dynamic soul through the layers of passion and playfulness found within the songs.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Lizz Wright’s voice is a national treasure.” -Upscale Magazine
“It would not be hyperbolic to describe Lizz Wright as awesome… [Wright] stands in a direct line of descent from Odetta through Tracy Chapman, singers whose source of sustenance is the African-American spiritual tradition.” -New York Times
About Leyla McCalla
A Haitian-American who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, Leyla McCalla plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. Deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk, her music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary.
Born in New York City to Haitian immigrant parents, and raised in suburban New Jersey (with a couple of teenage years spent in Accra, Ghana), Leyla experienced a renewed sense of connection with her Haitian heritage after moving to the Crescent City in 2010. The relocation led to her appearance on the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Grammy-nominated 2012 album Leaving Eden, as well as extensive concert dates as a touring member of the group. It also deeply enriched Leyla’s own music and sharpened her sense of purpose.
As a solo artist, McCalla released Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, in 2013. Offbeat called Vari-Colored Songs “ambitious, deep and gorgeous,” while the Boston Globe described the record as “at once varnished and sparse, like field recordings in high definition.” The track “Heart of Gold” was featured on NPR, which noted that the song’s instrumentation “sounds like lonesome nighttime.” But it was the New York Times who perhaps put best, characterizing the album’s material as “weighty thoughts handled with the lightest touch imaginable.”
McCalla’s latest release, A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey, is set to be released in 2016.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“impressive, to say the least… McCalla’s debut solo album is a fully realized and nuanced gem” – All Music
“McCalla’s light, unfussy vocals complete a charming, resonant spell.” – Guardian
“her songs were both beautiful and devastating” – No Depression