Nadia Washington – Hope Resurgence
Vocalist, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist Nadia Washington has worked with Dianne Reeves, Lalah Hathaway, George Duke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, among many others. The Dallas-born artist first came to these ears on the 2015 Revive Music compilation “Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1”. Her first solo album, six years in the making, will drop this Friday.
And it starts with the very George Duke-y title track, a mellow soul breeze surrounding this airy tune with keyboards and synths by co-producer Jesse Fischer. Nadia’s svelte vocals, sometimes reminding me of Esperanza, sometimes of Lalah, but always maintaining her own special color, soars through this strong opening. The percussive, beat-heavy “Broken” is next and on this particular tune, she conjures up sonic palettes of Rachelle Ferrell, especially in the lower registers. But, as mentioned before, hers is a pretty unique and versatile, always extremely soothing and persuasive instrument.
Nicholas Payton and keyboardist Jiri Nedoma co-arranged “Cyclone”, a haunting piece about mental health awareness and thus, comes across with stop-and-go tools and some disturbing elements, including an abrupt ending to the track. There is a certain urgentness and gospel-induced drama on “Nabi”, where Nadia is belting it out like crazy, accompanied by Nelda Washington, her mother, and Kisha Grandy, her aunt, both members of Kirk Franklin and The Family. There you go! And then we’re back to those amazingly soulful sides of the title track on “1/2 Love”, another highly appealing, dexterous tune. Nadia shows another side of her qualities on “Machine”, which has too many rock elements in my humble opinion and doesn’t really make it for me.
Tempo is slowed down and mood is becoming more introspective on the ballad “Bitter Cold”, where Nadia accompanies herself on acoustic guitar only. A beautiful addition to the mix here. I really like the intricate and mystifying stance and the thick synth and keys layers on the heavy-hitting “Fire”, unapologetic and sincere at the same time. There is a surprise ending on “Hope Resurgence”: a dedication to Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera “Pagliacci”. On “Pagliacci’s Lament”, a duo with producer Jesse Fischer on various synths and keys, we get to hear the pure beauty and power of Nadia’s voice and she sums it all up with her exalted claim that “the show must go on”.