You will realise just how much you missed listening to the eloquence of classic standards from the very first bars of Lauren Henderson’s recording, The Songbook Sessions. Miss Henderson is an accomplished, highly articulate musician who sings with hushed inwardness and this recording is an exquisite reminder of her artistry. It begins with a moving and urgent reminder to cease the day [of youth] in “While We’re Young” and culminates in the rapt poetry of her duet with Sullivan Fortner, in a duo version of “Day By Day”.
Lauren Henderson is a unique interpreter of standards and being bilingual [tri-lingual on this occasion], she has the ability to reach across the cultural topography of music bringing us to exquisite worlds of ballads and boleros, turning as if on a dime to access these worlds, the people and their stories. Her timbre is sultry and sometimes voluptuous; she is a singer of the middle ground – warm, sensitive, the lyrical vocalist par excellence. The way she finishes her lines is also quite unique; the soft and gentle tremolos that taper off at the end of her phrasing brings the poignancy of the music to fruition as if in perfectly-judged loping circles. Each of the nine songs is perfectly rendered as Miss Henderson seems to turn the lyricism of words into a purer kind of poetry.
How beautifully she glides into the profundity of “Meditação” and leans into the near-spiritual affectations of “Tiernamente”, the flowing speed of both songs perfectly judged by pianist Sullivan Fortner, as well as bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Allan Mednard – all three of whom a lift and allow Miss Henderson to phrase the poetry of the songs in seemingly unbroken emotions with total naturalness. The Songbook Sessions is an album to absolutely die for…
Track list – 1: While We’re Young; 2: Day by Day; 3: Sabor a Mí; 4: People Will Say We’re in Love; 5: Meditação; 6: Beautiful Love; 7: Bésame Mucho; 8: Tiernamente; 9: Day by Day [Duo Version]
Personnel – Lauren Henderson: vocals and Spanish lyrics ; Sullivan Fortner: piano; Eric Wheeler: bass; Allan Mednard: drums
Released – 2020
Label – Brontosaurus Records
Runtime – 42:49