There is not a shortage of jazz music out there, and that includes new music. If you follow my reviews, you’ll know this to be true. Vocal jazz are a dime a dozen, and I normally don’t use cliches in my reviews but in this case there are times when vocal jazz is a style of music I fear. However, when you have a singer who breaks out of the comfortable mode the genre has created for itself, I want to be open to what they may offer. Welcome Andréa Wood.
Upon looking at the video, I will admit into putting on the cliche hat and going “okay, let’s see what this person will be doing”, but almost done with a grimace. You know what changed my mind? The band. It doesn’t sound like it was recorded today, there’s that nice drum reverb, I’m hearing the room and immediately I thought “wow, if the music sounds like this, how is this singer going to compliment it?” Then she started to sing and I was like “this… is her?” Then I look at the album credits, and Wood herself produced the album. Whoa, I thought, followed by “who… is this?” This is Andréa Wood.
What I hear is someone who is not only well versed in the music she covers, but also knows the true power of the human voice as a proper instrument. If anyone watches the NBC talent show The Voice, the premise is that one has to master the art of singing, as it’s not just a means to sing and sing well, or be loud. You have to know how to add depth and color into each song, and bring the words into your world as if you are the one who wrote the songs, and Wood does this in everything she does. To my ears, she sounds like a cross between Nnenna Frelon and Eliane Elias, and when she dabbles into a bit of bossa nova, you’ll swear she comes from Brazil and not Washington D.C. (I’m sure bossa nova purists will laugh at the notion, which is understandable, but she sounds comfortable when singing “Chega De Saudade” and “Pro Que Discutir Com Madame?”) Even if you have heard “Someday My Prince Will Come” countless times, this version may bring you to tears, and shows how deep into the emotion of the song she is willing to go.
I can hear her doing a wide range of music, not just jazz, but if this is her home, take off your slippers or shoes before entering and see how she has decorated the place. I hope to hear much more music from Wood in the next few years.