Liz Terrell, It’s All Right With Me Review
by Constance Tucker
As the candlelight dances in the dimly lit room, its flicker mirroring the light scintillation of jazz, Liz Terrell’s It’s All Right With Me spins on the turntable, a testament to the timeless allure of jazz and the magnetic pull of a vocalist who is at once modern and steeped in tradition.
From the first track, “People Make The World Go Round,” to the final notes of Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s “What the World Needs Now,” the listener is led through a carefully curated journey of jazz standards, blues, and contemporary covers, each piece delicately woven into the fabric of the album by Terrell’s smooth, smoky voice.
The story of It’s All Right With Me lies in the power and versatility of Terrell’s voice. Her deep, soulful tones fill each track, echoing against the smooth, jazzy backdrop with ease and grace, like a brushstroke of deep cerulean on a canvas of muted purples and blues. She molds her voice to fit each song, bringing a bluesy vulnerability to Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk” and a playful, sensuous energy to the Fats Waller medley.
What sets Terrell apart is her intuition, not just in the way she understands the music, but in the way she communicates that understanding to her listeners. She uses her voice as an instrument of emotional articulation, a conduit of expression, subtly varying her tone, pitch, and intensity to convey an array of emotions. It is a skill honed over years of varied experience in the field, and it shines through in this debut album.
Whether it’s the modernistic notes of Steve Kuhn’s composition “The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers,” or the vintage charm of Cole Porter’s classics, Terrell navigates each style with innate musical intelligence. This versatility, coupled with her vocal prowess, creates an atmosphere of authenticity, ensuring that each piece remains true to its roots while allowing for a fresh and unique interpretation.
Her interactions with the band add another layer of texture to the album. It’s as if she is conversing with the other musicians, responding to their melodies with a harmony of her own. The band, too, matches her with equal vigor, contributing to the overall synchronicity of the album.
The beauty of It’s All Right With Me is not just in Terrell’s vocals, but in the synergy of a talented band that includes Daniel Clarke on piano, Chris Brydge on bass, Emre Kartari on drums, Alan Parker on guitar, and Eddie Williams on saxophone. Each musician’s individual skills shine through their respective instruments, contributing to the rich sound that defines the album. Paired with Terrell’s soulful voice, their performances create a balance that showcases not just Terrell’s ability to perform jazz, but to live and breathe it alongside her equally talented band members. Their mutual respect for each other’s skills, combined with their thoughtful selection of songs and creative yet respectful interpretations of classics, make this album a harmonious blend of musical experiences.
As the turn table arm returns to its holder, and the candle flicks it last light, It’s All Right With Me has given us a beautifully crafted debut album that transcends the boundaries of traditional jazz. Terrell’s vocals delivered the allure of jazz’s rich and engaging listening experience. Her soulful and captivating vocals have unfurled a tapestry rich in emotional depth and musical sophistication, creating an enthralling auditory experience steeped in the timeless allure of jazz. With the quiet promise of the final whispering notes, we’re left in anticipation of what’s yet to come. Terrell’s compelling presence looms on the horizon of vocal jazz, a beacon of hope, illuminating the path for the genre’s promising future. It leaves us eager to see what lies ahead in Liz Terrell’s promising future, a beacon of hope in the land of vocal jazz.