AMEL LARRIEUX / “Try Your Wings”

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6 Responses to “AMEL LARRIEUX / “Try Your Wings””

Berry Says:
July 22nd, 2007 at 7:38 am

I’m glad you guys featured this as it has been generating a low buzz. I was excited to learn that Amel was going to do a album of standards because I’m first a fan of Amel and second a fan of Standards so the combo was perfect. As you two have both noted, I was a bit disappointed in the end product. You hit the nail on the head…too understated and leave you wanting for more to a fault. If you are going to take a risk and do an album of standards it should be outstanding. Queen Latifah did the same thing…she was able to create a new audience set but I was underwhelmed with the body of work. I think you have it right…great background music — a cafe, a dinner party — something of that sort but to sit down and put it on is the like sipping a cup of Sleepytime tea.

      Mtume says:      

I think I must’ve been too reserved in my original comments because I’m actually not underwhelmed by the album at all. I like it a lot. A whole lot. I was just saying that I’m aware that other Amel fans might be put to sleep by it. Not me though. I’m loving it.


Ekere Says:
July 22nd, 2007 at 12:37 pm

This really is lovely. It’s subtle and pretty. In a country where everything the media spews is so damn over the top, I appreciate something quiet, sincere, and well-crafted

Thanks for it!

one love,

Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah Says:
July 22nd, 2007 at 11:19 pm

Amel is currently out on tour and we caught her and her new band at Yoshi’s in Oakland a few weeks ago… she only sang 3 or 4 tracks from Lovely Standards and they were mixed in with all sorts from her repertoire. She would switch from neo-funk, to jazz scatting, to upbeat soul (and hip hop inflected at that) to old-fashioned nightclub torch singer. It was like a soulful gumbo.

I think that she really lets down her hair down when she performs live and that it was a deliberate policy while recording to be so controlled. The evidence: the notes she was hitting live were simply unbelievable. Thus we should consider the album a mere taste, the real hook is the live experience that she and Blisslife are shrewdly cultivating.

The Minnie Riperton comparison is apt both in terms of the range and the cry quality of the voice.

The close mic is very effective, if you listen closely to sunrise you’ll hear the kind of vibrato effect that made songs like Gills and tails (from the last album) so exciting to the ear. I’ve been listening to this album back to back with Abbey sings Abbey and they flow well together. Both albums are not the best of either artist yet both albums elicit a certain wonder at the possibilities of this music we love – and these are musicians’ musicians.

Her reputation live is as the queen of long endings and you would never guess it from the album. I Like the Sunrise and Lucky to Be Me are indeed the only tracks that hint at the kind of things that happen when she and the band stretch out.

But let me not go on, I am due for another pass at Amel Larrieux… Some fighting words to end: I know that Erykah Badu appreciation runs deep in this joint but right now no one is touching Amel.

Qawi Robinson Says:
July 23rd, 2007 at 11:14 am

Am I the only one who thinks the close-mic only accentuates some flaws? Don’t get me wrong, Amel is a great singer. It’s just that from a Jazz perspective, Diana Krall she ain’t. She does a decent job covering the songs, but her voice lacks fullness in some parts…especially using the close-mic technique. To me, in “Lucky To Be Me”, she spends the first half of the song trying to sound like someone else (Janita, or almost Sade). Towards the end, she sounds more like herself…at an exceptional level, i.e. Rounder tones. Kudos to her scatting ability and her high octaves.

It probably would be great to see her live, especially if she sounds better. The band is great though.

December 28th, 2007 at 2:04 am

I am one of Amel’s biggest fans. Every song on every album is an inspiration to me. I hope that she continues to express herself as SHE feels and only what SHE feels. Thank You For Blessing Us!

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