Album Review: Lauren Henderson's Latest Release, CONJURING, Conjures The Past While Pushing Toward The Future

Old Songs & New Songs In A Timeless Voice…

By: Apr. 30, 2023
Album Review: Lauren Henderson's Latest Release, CONJURING, Conjures The Past While Pushing Toward The Future
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Album Review: Lauren Henderson's Latest Release, CONJURING, Conjures The Past While Pushing Toward The Future Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby's CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week's album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from jazz singer, composer, record producer Lauren Henderson. CONJURING is a 10-cut album featuring 5 originals by Henderson and 4 American songbook classics, all done up in what we have come to learn is her own inimitable jazz style. Now, for those doing that evil magic called math, even Bobby knows that 5+4 does not equal 10 (Does it?), but we will get to that... later. For now, let us say that not since Peggy Lee has this rainbow writer experienced such an insistently soft, compellingly rhythmic, and unerringly musical an album from such an incomparable jazz artist. La Henderson has spent her time since graduating from Boston's prestigious Newman School learning stuff and making music, almost, it would seem, simultaneously. With a BA from Wheaton College and an MFA from Brown, it would seem the lady is a real knowledge geek, especially where her music mastery and Hispanic studies were concerned. She is a multi-racial BIPOC woman who has traveled the world learning, and learning more, about traditional kinds of music (ex: Flamenco) and their connection to jazz, and has boiled this vast knowledge down into a composition and performing sound that is her own.

Now to the album, my dearlings - CONJURING, her self-penned title song, is the third cut on the album. The vibes on the vibraphone (played by Joel Ross) in the opening strains are rainfall on wind chimes, leading into Lauren's liquid vocals. Throughout, there are repeating motifs in the piano and the vibes, over and over again, unrelentingly "conjuring" the tension. Her lyrics are gorgeous with tight couplet rhymes about love's miracles, "In its own way, Love's divine. Conjures what it can, often sublime" - that's the heart of love, this song, and CONJURING the album... sexy, sultry, and sensuous. THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC is cut 2, here, and the expression "Oldie but goodie" doesn't cut it for this one. This is a classic among classic jazz numbers and, here, it is performed in a classic way. Her vocal line is almost a whisper that pulls you closer to her and what she is doing, and her expert jazz application of zero vibrato into rapid-fire vibrato is subtle but inescapable... And, oh, that Vibraphone! COERCION, another of her original songs, begins with bass plucking that drops us into a smokey nightclub after hours. Her voice is clear, as is her intonation on her words. There is no mistaking the seduction that is happening in the music and lyrics. Throughout her album, her deference to her instrumentalists, in giving them near-equal time to play and improv and be featured, is wonderful. Along with Ross's ever-present vibraphone, there is Sean Mason & John Chin - on piano, Gabe Schneider and Nick Tannura - on guitar, Eric Wheeler - on that plucking bass, and Joe Dyson - on drums, all of whom show their excellent musicianship as members of the band and soloists, but her voice is EV-ER-REEEE-THING my children... everything.

And now, to Bobby's nebulous numbers above, and one of our favorite musical tricks an artist has played on our ears in a long time. For cuts 4 & 9 Lauren has chosen to give two separate takes on a single classic. In order, they are ES MAGIA & IT'S MAGIC, a big, hit tune from yesteryear by the great Jule Styne, performed once in Spanish and once in English, and Little Bobby's review of this magic... Jule never had it so good... in any language.

As you can tell, dear rainbow readers, Lauren Henderson has truly beguiled Bobby's ears with her soft, smooth jazz stylings, on her own and other songs by masters of the art. This album is one for romantic nights with someone you love or hope to love, and no mistake, and so...

This one gets 5 Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your Spotifies stream: HERE

Or On The Amazon: HERE

You Can See And Hear Everything About Lauren Henderson On Her Webbysite: HERE

Album Review: Lauren Henderson's Latest Release, CONJURING, Conjures The Past While Pushing Toward The Future


To post a comment, you must register and login.