New York-based vocalist Lizzie Thomas presents her career-defining fifth album, Duo Encounters. The inventive jazz singer — gifted with an inviting voice and a swinging style — teams up with a dozen of her favorite artists to perform a set of intimate and adventurous duets. Over the course of twelve tracks, Thomas digs deep into the lyrics, and uplifts each song with her individualistic approach. Turning away from the conventional, these interpretations of carefully curated tunes are fun and adventurous. The result is a memorable set of superbly sung and often surprising music and it‘s Lizzie Thomas’ most rewarding recording to date.
Lizzie Thomas is an inventive jazz vocalist known for her sultry vocal stylings and deep interpretations of the lyric. Thomas’ latest release, Duo Encounters on Dot Time Records cements her stature as one of New York’s top jazz singers. Alongside the “who’s who” of Jazz, Lizzie has had the privilege of collaborating with Ron Carter, Russell Malone, John Di Martino, Wayne Escoffery, Helio Alves, Jay Leonhart, Guilherme Monteiro among others. Lizzie has graced the stages of prestigious venues worldwide. Notables include Birdland Jazz Club NYC, Sunset Paris, and Blues Alley DC. Thomas captivates with her attractive musical personality and stunning vocal facility whether scatting at fast tempos or caressing a tender ballad.
“She brings an interpretive depth to everything.” Nic Jones, Jazz Journal UK
“Her pitch and sense of time are flawless.” Scott Yanow LA JAZZSCENE
“This singer takes risks that other singers wouldn’t dare try” Bebop Spoken Here
Claude Diallo has a philosophy that seeps into his musical ﬁber. He calls it “Traveling With Music” which in his mind incorporates what he hears and observes musically, regardless of origin, time and space. It is for him a musical statement.
The Claude Diallo Situation comprise of Claude, along with Luques Curtis and Túpac Mantilla. They are masters of their craft and they are at home no matter where they are with their music. Their travels and experiences have infused their music with a spirit, a conscious and a living breathing energy.
11:11 is an album stimulated by numerous technical aspects, varied meters, rhythms, odd bars typical of South American and Eastern Europe music. You will ﬁnd elements of African meters; blues licks and Latin Jazz. There is Classical theory and themes as well. The trio also makes numerous dedications to those who taught and inspired the trio and those inﬂuences are keenly felt in the intricacy of the music.
Therefore, when the virtuosity and energy of these artists is sprinkled in, the focus toward the technical and compositional proﬁciency dominates the listeners attention.
I tend to think differently. 11:11 is an album that is sustained by Claude’s philosophy of traveling with music; ﬁlled with motif’s that uplift the spirit and palette of our senses. Simply put, even though the album is ﬁlled with complex rhythms, meters and grooves, the bottom line is what we hear, is simple beautiful melodies.
Louis Armstrong once said, “What we play is life.” With 11:11, Claude Diallo Situation shares with us what gives them life.
Johanan ‘Jo’ Bickhardt Dot Time Records
The recordings contained in this collection were recently discovered in a closet of a once working musician. What makes this discovery revelatory is the source, Luis Russell (born Panama Aug 5, 1902, died New York City Dec 11, 1963). A pioneer of early jazz, Luis was an orchestra leader, arranger, composer, and pianist of the first order of magnitude. The recordings, which span a two year period from 1938 through 1940, are primarily radio airchecks, captured by a single wire and cut directly onto a glass or shellac disc. During this period, Luis and his orchestra were doing double duty, serving as Louis Armstrong’s orchestra on stage and on recordings for the Decca label, while also touring and performing as Luis Russell Orchestra without Armstrong.
Luis wanted to hear how his orchestra sounded. The selections he chose to capture from live gigs were, with a few exceptions, songs that he never recorded or released in studio versions. We are able, many decades later, to be a “fly on the wall” at his gigs. We hear material the orchestra leader wanted to playback as a tool for fine tuning his approach.
The recordings were transfered by sound engineer, Doug Pomeroy, the preeminent expert at historical audio restoration. Heavily worn, an indication that Luis Russell listened to them repeatedly, Doug coaxed as much music as possible, using specialized styluses of varied sizes, caressing each side of every groove. A single source capturing a 16 piece orchestra on one channel, without the ability to balance or mix, followed by years of wear, was the grist for Doug Pomeroy’s mill. Another proviso; the source materials were among the roughest Doug had ever encountered. The resulting sound quality reflects these limitations. In some cases, we have only a fragment of the song. The recordings were never intended for commercial release.
When initially discovered, they were shared with a small group of dedicated and generous jazz historians. The response was enthusiastic, with a unanimity that these recordings deserved to be heard and enjoyed. The music shines through as a fascinating document; rarities curated by the leader of one of the greatest orchestras in the history of jazz, including a lineup of legendary, stellar musicians, performing at the peak of their powers.