Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lisa Lee Taps Into Her Anima

Liza Lee is a jazz vocalist from a family of musically gifted individuals. Her grandparents were both internationally recognized jazz musicians and it's from those roots that Liza started to develop her own musical path. Starting out in theater, her talent soon outgrew her local environment and she began touring in productions as well as acting in TV and film. It was during this time that music crept into her psyche and with such firm roots in Jazz it seemed all too obvious that its where she wanted to go.

In 2005, she released her debut album Scarlet Mark to critical acclaim. With success on horizon and things starting to take shape Liza suffered a stroke. Undeterred, by 2006 Liza managed to make a full recovery and started to work on her follow up album, Anima. According to Liza the recording of this album was personal and extremely important to her and as a result of her life altering experience, she's decided to donate the proceeds of this record to the Society For Women's Health Research in an effort to improve the health of all women through research, education, and advocacy.

As for Anima itself, Liza once again proves herself to be a fresh voice in the jazz world. Her voice is as crisp as always and you would be hard pressed to find a difference in her abilities pre or post-stroke. She still weaves a rich tapestry with her vocals and they play along with the instrumentation as if they were one. It's truly an amazing thing to hear this gifted performer carry on as if nothing had ever happened.

The songs on Anima were written predominantly by women and include compositions by Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, Peggy Lee and Kate Bush. The album also includes several songs by Liza herself that reflect upon her ordeal as well as songs about psychological and drug abuse. It's an intense album that still manages to be alluring and seductive despite it's subject matter.

Reunited once again with pianist Bruce Barth and several of the musicians that helped record Scarlet Mark, Liza and her backing band further develop the chemistry that was so solid throughout her debut. Once again, the arrangements and accompaniment are so well done that unless you're paying close attention you would never know that several of these songs are actually already part of pop culture. For example, Liza's version of "A Thousand Kisses Deep," is so well done that Leonard Cohen would probably give her a hug for it's originality.

With an amazing group of musicians backing her up, and a voice for the ages, Liza Lee is once again on track to make an impact in the jazz community. She has once again proven herself to be an amazing talent capable of anything. To think that this young woman has been through so much and still has the ability to sing like this is amazing. Her creativity, perserverance, and talent are reflected on each of the songs on Anima and that's what makes this record such a pleasure to listen to. Anima is an album that is not only a labor of love but an album on a mission and for that reason alone you should pick this up.  

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