Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound & image. There’s something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever “it” is – they all seem to have “it”. Today I listened to the latest CD from Seattle based Jazz Vocalist Barbie Anaka entitled Speechless (2013). Venturing to her website I get the impression this is one artist that is extremely experienced and passionate about her music. From start to finish this CD from Anaka delivers the goods and is a very entertaining musical experience overall. It has a very warm and inviting Contemporary Jazz quality to it, and even dabbles in classic Vocal Jazz and Big Band Jazz and slight R&B. It also reminds me of Diane Schuur, Renee Olstead, Dianne Reeves and Karrin Allyson. Any fans of any of these artists will enjoy this latest release from Anaka. It’s clearly marketed for those who enjoy a Smooth and soothing soprano front. Anaka is quite appealing visually as well. I get the impression Anaka and company are letting it all hang out via this compelling 10 track line up. All songs are a combination of a few classic covers, one notably (Sade — Sweetest Taboo) and 7 originals. My hats off to Anaka for hand picking such an amazing collection of music. My favorite tracks are (Star), (Lavender Sky) and (Second Skin). Within each one of these pieces Anaka offers up her own unique musical interpretation of each piece and bares her soul delivering what I would call pure musical mojo. It offers much in the way of passion and compelling-thought provoking lyrical content. The playing from Anaka’s band is spot on and just makes the whole CD even more enjoyable. The overall vibe of the production is very uplifting and cheerful with pockets of hope shining through. I see Barbie Anaka as a polished Jazz Singer/Artist. She possesses an amazing amount of experience, wisdom and rock solid musical instincts behind the microphone and no doubt in front of a crowd. The strong suit Speechless is the way Anaka makes all these songs her own.
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Rating: 9/10 Stars
Michael Morrison – West Lothian, Scotland (UK)
Edited by Markus Druery
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