Lizz Wright in Berlin

Lizz Wright was in town yesterday. She is currently on tour promoting her new album “Shadow”, which will be released on her own Blues And Greens Records on April 12th. She opened her 80-minute set with “Sweet Feeling”, the first single off the album which came out last fall. It was wonderful to hear her segueing into “Walk With Me, Lord”, a track from her debut album “Salt” from 2003. And even though the new pieces are more on the blues side of the radar, the band turned into a funk modus as well, the sound of which actually suits her amazingly well. One of the new pieces, “Sparrow”, which has Angelique Kidjo as guest on the album, had me focus more on her amazing band, which features Adam Levy and Marvin Sewell on guitars.

Lizz Wright Columbia Theater
Lizz Wright and band performing at Columbia Theater on Monday.

Lizz’ voice filled up the whole room at Columbia Theater; especially during the ballads and slower numbers, the warmth and the soul of her instrument was just breathtaking. Case in point (one of many, actually): “This Way”, which is also on the new album. Her charming way of interpolating jazz, blues, folk, and Americana was truly admirable on “Lost In The Valley”, another new track. But she also threw in some older tunes as well, like the always appreciable “Old Man”, and also the often overlooked “Chasing Strange” from her 2005 album “Dreaming Wide Awake”. There is so much beauty surrounding “Circling”, my favorite cut on the new album. Exuding an incredible amount of sweetness and charme, her voice is just brimming with comfort.

I felt nothing but admiration for her rendition of “I’m Confessin” where she added some “Mercy Mercy Me” Marvin Gaye lines towards the end. And then for the finale she was back in the more upbeat, funky mode which she started out with. Juxtaposing “Freedom” with the current single “Your Love”, she concluded on a powerful notion which simply established her as one of the most cherished artists we have. Look out for the vinyl version of the album please! She continues her tour here:

3/13 Ostrów – Cultural Center
3/14 Wroclaw – Synagoga Pod Bialym Bocianem
3/15 London – Cadogan Hall
4/05-07 Washington – Brennan’s Bar
4/10 Philadelphia – City Winery
4/11 Portsmouth – Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club
4/12 Boston – City Winery
4/14 New York – City Winery
4/27 Toronto – Koerner Hall
4/28 Evanston – Space
7/08 Vienne – Jazz à Vienne
7/18 Kraków – Jazz Festival
7/20 Stuttgart – Jazz Open

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