The sultriness inherent in Brazilian jazz rhythms enhances the fresh and vibrant pop melodies on soprano song siren Anne Walsh’s “Brand New,” which bodes to cast a bewitching spell of beauty and romance this spring upon its March 18 release from A To Z Music. The timing is serendipitous for the twelve-tracker - thoughtfully produced and arranged by Walsh and GRAMMY®-nominated arranger-pianist Tom Zink - that has lyrical themes about rebirth, restoration and rejuvenation as well as juxtaposing the splendor of nature and romantic love. The set list is a mix of new songs and standards that offer hope and continues Walsh’s tradition of writing lyrics for a pair of classic instrumentals.
Sharing a mutual passion for the elegance and sensuality of Brazilian jazz, Walsh and Zink - married both creatively and in real life – showcase their affinity for recordings bolstered by the spontaneity and improvisational spark between first-call musicians. The duo also put considerable care into their meticulous arrangements.
“There was a time when thoughtful writers dominated the pop world. We’re nostalgic for the days when albums were defined by imagination and a musicality that involved the interplay between scores of musicians and complex arrangements. These songs rely heavily on the interaction between first-class jazz and studio players like Brian Bromberg, Chris Wabich, Gary Meek, Gannin Arnold, Tiki Pasillas and Ebinho Cardoso, highly-accomplished musicians who bring their own special personalities to the arrangements,” said Zink, who received a GRAMMY® nomination for his clever arrangements on Walsh’s “Pretty World” (2009).
Many of the tracks on “Brand New” are enriched by elaborately-orchestrated string, horn and woodwind sections while a few cuts stir a poignant swoon as sparsely-rendered piano and voice sketches. Whether her accompaniment is grandiose or spare, Walsh’s balletic voice is constant throughout, leaping with poise and grace across a lush backdrop of enchanting harmonies.
“Renewal and redemption are the key themes of this project and the common link for all of the music. Even within the structures and orchestration of the songs themselves, the layering and complexity of the arrangements are meant to provide a treasure trove of melodies to discover and re-discover. The draw to classic songs by our favorite composers is an act of renewal for us - taking what is already beautiful and showing a new way of experiencing the familiar,” said Walsh, who will celebrate the album release with a performance at Spaghettini’s in Seal Beach, Calif. on March 20.
On “Brand New,” Zink and Walsh’s unique approach to recording covers by songwriting giants such as John Lennon & Paul McCartney (“Here, There and Everywhere”), Burt Bacharach & Hal David (“I Say A Little Prayer”), Alan & Marilyn Bergman and Michel Legrand (“Windmills Of Your Mind”) and Sergio Mendes & Lani Hall (“Salt Sea”) means completely dismantling the composition and reimagining its time, arrangement and harmonies while frequently keeping only the melody intact. The lyrics Walsh poetically penned for Dori Caymmi’s “Amazon River” equate nature and amorous beauty while she adopts a storyteller mindset on “The Writings On The Wall” to chronicle the career accomplishments and challenges faced by Astrud Gilberto. She duets with bassist Cardoso in Portuguese on “Coisas Do Amor,” an original number by the proficient bassist who is equally blessed with a satiny voice. Other standouts include a dramatic reading of “Nature Boy,” the starry-eyed “To Sir With Love,” an ethereal treatment of “My Prayer,” and a couple of new Walsh-Zink compositions – the breezy and quixotic title track and a throwback energizer, “Batuque (The Beat).”
A Worcester, Mass. native who has long resided in Long Beach, Calif., Walsh is a classically-trained vocalist possessing operatic and theatrical qualities although the style she favors on her recordings organically straddles the jazz and pop worlds. “Brand New” is her first release since her 2011’s outing, “Go.” She has cultivated a fan base domestically and abroad through radio play and repeated tour stops in Southern California, Boston, New York City and Brazil, and at the venerable Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island. For more information, please visit www.AnneWalsh.com.
The songs contained on Walsh’s “Brand New” album are:
“Here, There and Everywhere”
“Batuque (The Beat)”
“I Say A Little Prayer”
“Coisas Do Amor”
“The Writings On The Wall”
“Windmills Of Your Mind”
“To Sir With Love”