Collage by Karen Lynch
London-based pianist, Jessica Lauren, has been an active member of the modern jazz scene since the 1990s. Admittedly, I hadn't heard much of her music until very recently and I'm ashamed to say that now because it's absolutely timeless. Lauren's latest release, Almería, is a soft reflection into Mediterranean-inspired jazz and soul sounds that harken back to '60s world legends like Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66 but with an even more expansive Afro-Beat influence.
"Amalfi" is the perfect example of this with it's bouncing bossa nova backbeat and hypnotically catchy piano line that echoes on as the band rests for an 8-count. The vocal melody careens next to a whispering flute line that bops and up and down effortlessly, then breaking into a soothing harmony over the groovy electric piano that holds the beat together. The chord changes are exciting and keep the listener guessing with each new movement.
Gliding like a feather, "Amalfi" feels like a cool breeze on a sunny day. It's relaxing and inviting, coaxing the listener to put away any troubles in favor of a coastline drive. Even if jazz isn't your thing, Jessica Lauren's "Amalfi" will make you feel right at home with her minimalist arrangements and melodic songwriting.
Check out her full-length, Almería, out now!
RIYL: Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66, Ernie Hawks & the Soul Investigators, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Yazmin Lacey