BWW CD Review: Nicole Henry's TIME TO LOVE AGAIN Is An Album to Love, and It Arrived Just In Time

With 9 recordings of easy jazz covers, Nicole Henry reinvents and reinvigorates some classic melodies.

By: Dec. 28, 2021
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BWW CD Review: Nicole Henry's TIME TO LOVE AGAIN Is An Album to Love, and It Arrived Just In Time

Jazz maven Nicole Henry took to the studio during the pandemic and has released her eighth album, and it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in everyone's lives. TIME TO LOVE AGAIN is a musical salve to soothe the soul during the difficult times in which we have all found ourselves these days. Ms. Henry has created an album of covers that ranks as one of the most enjoyable CDs of 2021. Henry, who often draws comparisons to other artists and voices who have come before, is a consummate artist whose work (and voice) stands entirely on its own, something made patently clear by the fact that the nine tracks on the forty-five (ish) minute album don't actually sound like covers. This could be an album of nothing but original tunes, so strong is Henry's focus on discovering new colors, new layers, new points of view on songs long well-known and loved by many music lovers.

Working with a team of twenty top-tier musicians based out of Florida (including her longtime quartet), Henry makes great advantage of the disc to provide her listeners with opportunities to free themselves from famous arrangements, especially on "Feeling Good", "Whenever I See Your Smiling Face", and "Until It's Time For You to Go." Those recordings by Nina Simone, James Taylor and Elvis Presley are treasures to fans but there is no reason for other artists to present their own recordings of the songs in the same way, or even in a variation of the same way, and Ms. Henry is both individual and adventurous enough as an artist to conceive and create new visuals in the mind with her unique rhythms, striking diction, and adaptable timbres. Indeed, with each track on the album, Ms. Henry seems to be celebrating life, music, and the act of enjoying both; the lady seems intent on making the album a party to lift the spirits and nourish the soul. A jazzed-up Rodgers & Hart ballad will make you want to dance, while a nearly-unrecognizable Sade hit will make you want to do something significantly more intimate. Nicole's affect on her band, her soloists, and her arrangers (several of each) appears to be one of absolute devotion because every artist on the CD showed up ready to support the lady, and with the very best that they've got. The quality of the recording, from the artists backing Henry musically to the technicians mixing and mastering, is beyond reproach, and Nicole Henry acts as a breeze-buoyed musical parachute, carrying every other member of the team on the wind with her seemingly effortless artistic leadership and admirable abilities. Henry appears to inspire all those working around her to the heights of greatness, obviously with her impeccable artistry but, one suspects, also through the person that she is in real life.

On an album that almost demands being played from start to finish, rather than piecemeal (remember those days?) it could be difficult to pick a favorite but this writer was particularly enthralled by an intellectual and insistent take on "Wild Is The Wind" and the joyfully grounded "Feeling Good" that opens the album. One could easily play the kick-off number on repeat but it would be a shame to halt the progression of the musical storytelling: best to let Henry and co. take you on the easy-going jazz journey they have worked so industriously to create. Then play the "Feeling Good" track on repeat until you have danced all your blues, cares, worries, and distractions away. The cut (and the rest of the album) will prove to be a boon to anyone's life from the day it is added to their music collection (please note the nod to Nina at the end of the track), and although there is no denying that songwriters should be submitting material to Henry for recording, it must be said that, whether the smooth-and-sweet-voiced jazz diva is singing original material or covers, it is what she brings to every song that makes it enjoyable and valuable. That is the mark of individuality, of originality. It is the mark of an artist, which is exactly what Nicole Henry is, and TIME TO LOVE AGAIN is audible proof of just that.

Nicole Henry TIME TO LOVE AGAIN is a 2021 release on the Banister Records Label. It is available on all digital platforms and on the Nicole Henry website HERE.

Nicole Henry's quartet is Pete Wallace on a variety of keyboards, Eric Englad on bass, Dave Chiverton at the drums, and Aaron Lebos playing guitar.

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