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Leslie Zimei - Black And White (2014)
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Leslie Zimei - Black And White (2014)

26-09-2014, 20:20
Music | Jazz | Vocal Jazz | Pop

Leslie Zimei - Black And White (2014)

Artist: Leslie Zimei
Title Of Album: Black And White
Year Of Release: 2014
Genre: Jazz/Pop Vocals
Label: Leslie Zimei
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 42:09
Total Size: 101 Mb
Covers: Front

01. Can I Change My Mind (3:41)
02. Girl Don't Come (3:54)
03. Save The Bones For Henry Jones (3:00)
04. Baby Can I Hold You Tonight (4:09)
05. Same (4:44)
06. Don't Explain (4:14)
07. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (3:54)
08. Comin' Home (4:32)
09. Black And White (3:56)
10. Tell Mama (3:40)
11. Old Folks (2:21)

So, along comes Black and White, a new album by Long Islander, Leslie Zimei, released this summer and dedicated to her mom. Ms. Zimei is no novice to music even though her name may not be immediately recognized. She has sung with the likes of Ben E. King and Bo Diddley. She has opened for artists such as Peggy Lee, Petula Clark and Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie). She was lead vocalist for a local blues-based band, Cadillac Moon, and she currently sings with The Pearl Street Band. And now, after more than 40 years recording and performing, she has finally put out her first “solo” album.

Armed with an enviable voice and a band of musicians so accomplished as to make the music sound, well, easy to create, Ms. Zimei has chosen to record an album of mostly covers from a wide range of rhythm and blues composers and performers from Billie Holiday and Etta James to Tracy Chapman. She moves between deep soul (“Bill Withers’ “Same Love that Made Me Laugh” and Etta James “Tell Mama”) and blues (an original, “Black and White”) with effortless sincerity and compassion, and stops for some fun along the way (“Save the Bones for Henry Jones” (Nat King Cole)). But mostly it’s straight rhythm and blues with style.

You only get one change at a first impression, as the saying goes, and Ms. Zimei has chosen wisely. The disc opens rather strongly with a cover of Tyron Davis’ “Can I Change My Mind?”, and you know instantly that if the album can only live up to the promise of its beginning, you will be in for a treat. And I’m happy to say that it certainly does, and you are. For example, her cover of Cannonball Adderly’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” adds a female perspective to the song that oozes with a sexiness that can only come from a woman with a little mileage; and, from this reviewer’s point of view, that is a decisive virtue. This song, above all, begs for the repeat button.

While a large majority of the album is a diverse assortment of impressive covers, the two originals, “Comin’ Home”, a sensitive, hopeful ballad in the soulful style of Dusty Springfield, and the aforementioned, bluesy title track, “Black and White”, both written with her former husband, Michael Mattia, complement their more familiar counterparts in rather impressive fashion, proudly putting Ms. Zimei’s own song-writing talents on display. Perhaps at first glance, seeing the song list of mostly R & B covers, you might be tempted to dismiss this collection as more of the same – you know, another in the seemingly endless line of uninspired, over-interpreted R & B standards. But after a listen or two, you’ll realize, as I did, that Black and White is really something quite special and deserves a place in your rhythm and blues collection. ~Michael J Mand

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