Deborah Latz – What’s on Your Playlist?

October 9, 2013

latzby Christian Wissmuller

Vocalist Deborah Latz came to jazz after an acclaimed career in dramatic and musical theater, during which she garnered a Best Actress Award at the Jerzy Grotowski Theatre Festival in Poland for her one-woman performance of Juliet, and recorded the original song, “I’m Neurotic Over You” for the off-Broadway comedy, High Infidelity. She also received rave reviews in New York and Europe, and has earned praise as one of the most compelling new vocalists on the scene.  Her recent release, Fig Tree featured Jon Davis on piano, John Hart on guitars, Ray Parker on bass, Willard Dyson on drums, and special guest saxophonist/flutist/percussionist Peter Apfelbaum and guest vocalist Abdoulaye Diabate, and is her breakout performance as vocalist, songwriter, and arranger.  The disc showcases an outstanding range of technique and creative musicality that places her at the forefront of jazz today.

1. Dream of Nite – David Liebman 

I am a huge fan of Dave Liebman. This album was given to me in Florence, Italy where it was recorded live in 2005. The Italian rhythm section is pianist Roberto Tarenzi, bassist Paolo Benedettini, and drummer Tony Arco and they sound really, really good. Liebman’s “Tomorrow’s Expectations” is truly a beauty.

2. Too Damn Hot – Dr. Lonnie Smith 

Dr. Smith knows how to lay down a groove, and his energy is over the top! I smile through each track and especially on “Your Mama’s Got A Complex” – a great hook! All of the songs are just too good….

3. Love, Peace and Jazz! Live at the Village Vanguard – Al Foster

Before Foster even takes his seat you already know you’re in for a ride by the way his drum set is arranged with cymbals up high. When you see Foster live it’s electrifying and it comes through on this disc with saxophonist Eli Digibri, pianist Kevin Hays, and Doug Weiss on bass. It was a huge thrill for me to sit practically next to Al Foster when they played at the Vanguard.

4. Time Was  – Time Is – Ray Barretto 

One of the last albums Ray Barretto recorded, which was nominated for a 2005 Grammy. His playing makes you move from your core. The closer, “Caper For Chris,” was written for his son and it’s Ray’s voice you hear singing. So charming and full of love. Like Ray.

5. Personal Appearance – The Sonny Stitt Quartet – Sonny Stitt

One of Bebop’s original saxmen. Yes! In my continuous journey to learn about the jazz greats I cannot get enough of Sonny Stitt. His original, ”Original?” is a standout for me. I’m also listening my way through Stitt’s Bits The Bebop Recordings, 1949-1952, Prestige.

6. Travelling Without Moving – Jamiroquai 

Although this British jazz-funk band has been around for a while, I just discovered them. The beats are infectious and Jay Kay’s original lyrics are very clever. Listen to “Cosmic Girl.” Barbarella fans will definitely get a kick out of it.

7. Water Music – David Soldier and Richard Lair 

Mother Earth is naturally musical: wind, rain, and the sea. On this disc, Thai elephants are recorded live playing giant man-made instruments. These elephants show their rhythmic instincts and prove they have “big ears.” I find their music calming and inspirational.

8. Promised Land – Omar Sosa 

This is an album I come back to again and again. Mr. Sosa’s arresting compositions and piano playing coupled with spoken word and multi-media is very rich. He tells the story with clarity and emotion. Track five, “Across Africa [Arrival],” really gets to me.

9. Christian aTunde Adjuah – Christian Scott 

He tells like it is on this two-disc release. In the liners, trumpeter Christian Scott talks about, “…others imposing their thoughts or opinions of what artists should and should not do.” Scott definitely respects his elders, and at the same time he explores his craft and vision with a deep insight. I keep coming back for more.

10. Tanto Tempo – Bebel Gilberto 

Most of the music and lyrics on this album are written by Bebel. She is a first-class storyteller.

Deborah Latz’ most recent album, Fig Tree (June Moon Productions), was released on May 7, 2013.  www.deborahlatz.com

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