The Jazzcat

Lizz Wright at Royce Hall

by on Feb.13, 2005, under News


The second set of a double bill begins super mellow. Lizz

Wright, sharing a bill at Royce Hall with vibraphonist Stefon Harris, lets her

band get the groove going before she waltzes on the stage. Greeted by applause,

screams and whistles, the young spirit with an old soul begins to sing in the

clearest and purest tone. If you can understand the difference between high

definition and the black and white television that your mama made you come in

and turn the channel knob for her when you were a kid, then you will know how

clean, clear and beautiful this voice is.


Soon after the mellow began, the bass guitar kicked in and in

came the funk, the soul, the groove, the ballads and the rhythm and blues to

create a sound that took on a whole new vibe. These are the sounds of an artist

that can not be put in a box with a label on it for the masses to easily

categorize. Her instrumentation for the evening included guitar, percussion and

bass guitar, quite a different setting than I have been used to seeing her in.

Many styles of music came from this section of melodic rhythm, even gospel. The

versatility touched on all kinds of genres.


Lizz has a naturally organic and powerfully strong voice

that soared and floated on top of the rhythm like the cream on hot chocolate.

The spot light cast a distinctive glow on the raw beauty and peaceful spirit of

her instrument. She has a subtle charismatic peace which exemplifies her

soulful qualities.


At the request of her audience, the volume is turned up on

her microphone so as not to compete with the big boom of the percussion. There

is much power in simplicity. The message is delivered with clear uncomplicated

communication. A large majority of the populace prefer it that way. So when an

artist can match this delivery with overwhelmingly creative and genuine talent,

the mixture is absolutely bound for success.


For her encore, the audience yelled out for the title track

to her popular album, “Salt”, but Lizz had a few other things in mind. She is

taking her music in new directions, moving forward and letting whatever music she

is feeling guide her in the pure and peaceful direction of her musical destiny.

This takes much courage for a younger artist to hold true to creativity and not

just allow the masses to dictate and impress their will upon her, as so many

other artists have done. We all look for more great things from the pure and

natural, Lizz Wright.


LeRoy Downs





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