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on 3 July 2008
Many reviews on Amazon -- and yes, myself guilty -- tend to lean towards fan-mail. You keep a watch out for your favourite artists, buy their cd's as they are released and write a review tell the world how truly fantastic the artist and music are. And by inference, your own taste in music. So let me start by saying that I do have a weakness for Lizz Wright. Don't expect a cool unbiased review. Her earlier albums have been spinning and spinning on my cd-player. Not just because of her voice, her phrasing and tone that she combines so beautifully and effortlessly. In this she is not alone, there are many good singers with fine material out there. But there is something special about Lizz Wright that makes her stand out. Hard to put the finger on but it could be her seeming to take her lyrics so seriously, giving the impression of living or having lived them. Of wishing to tell. As a result you feel compelled to listen, and listen with attention, to what she wishes to say and convey. It just works, and this (almost) irrespective of the quality of the lyrics. If you lend her -- and her co-musicians -- your full attention you will more often than not be richly rewarded. This record is no exception. At first listen it even sounds stronger than her previous work, and that is saying quite something. Hey Mann a personal favourite along with Ike Turner's old Idolize-hit. The rest of the songs I let others comment on. Give Lizz Wright a try if you haven't yet heard her sing. It may not be your thing but you just may get hooked. And why not start with this her latest cd, a cd that I have not -- I realise -- really reviewed. But what did you expect from a biased fan?
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Lizz Wright is in my opinion a modern Sarah Vaughan with hints of modernesque influences. The problem comes in pigeonholing her music. Clearly I can write the words Soul, Folk, RnB, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and that Lizz sings proudly from an African American heritage but Lizzs music does not sit well in any one of these categories. More she is the product of all of these things and arguably much better than the sum of those parts! Dreaming wide awake and Salt her two previous albums were fabulous offerings that clearly demonstrated the extraordinary talent of her gift.

Lizz was apparently heavily influenced by gospel and on this album you can hear that throughout the Orchard with tracks like "coming home" being a clear example. However Lizz touches into the modern with "my heart" a great crossover into a contemporary music genre . However in my opinion Lizzs' talents are clearly entrenched in her more gospelish / bluesy offerings such as hey mann and I idolise you which could not be sung as well by any other living female vocalist. I am a musician and liten to lizz as she gives me a light to my shade, a balance to my aggressive side and a still to my madly frenetic energy. If you are someone that yearns for a modern voice that delivers silk and velvet tones with sensitivity and an incredible grace then Lizz should be at the top of your list. The Orchard is given 4 stars as it is in reality a 4.5 stars for me -near perfection but not quite. This is only her 3rd album though so watch her space!!
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on 5 July 2008
in these days of bland simon cowell pap music , its great to hear an album by a real singer. this is a lush gorgeous album.
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on 9 April 2010
Similarities serve only to hint at the genre. This is no Diane Reeves/Tracy Chapman/Cassandra Wilson "imitation" but a fourth take from the same origins. Compare the dark angelic vocal delights that any of the above have delivered to a world awash with safely squared off electro rhythmic trash you will understand the need to set each apart.
The only introduction Lizz requires is to listen itself.
Orchard her third studio release marks a significant departure from the equally respected SALT and DREAMING WIDE AWAKE. The earlier two leant heavily on the masterful if "signature" jazz orchestrations of veteran Tommy LiPuma in favour of Craig Street who favours the closer attentions of an acoustic "band" rather than the entire symphony. ORCHARD tastes the mature fruits of Southern Eastern jazz. Hickory smoke, New Orleans flavour with a hint of hanging Louisiana willow. The tempo captures sunset amidst a scorching summer, beads of sweat glistening as weary feet drag through fields of golden corn.
The "band" is tight enough to make loose and baggy sound exactly like it was intended that way. Street's Production defines clarity, fret twists, hammond slides and brushed snares. Every single note and stroke is yours in it's own space,colour and time.
The songs are melodic often mournful but infinitely memorable. Rankings and favourites I leave to the individual - we will never agree, but try Hey Mann/Another Angel/This is, just for the contrast.
Lizz is in astounding form again, adding emotional depth to the vocal at a level simply vacant among her peers. She'll sing it, you'll believe it, THE END.
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on 15 August 2011
Lizz Wright has released two great albums on Verve Records, her jazzy debut "Salt" and the great follow up "Dreaming Wide Awake". Lizz Wright's third album "The Orchard" is yet again another great piece of work. The beautiful rich tones in her voice blend perfectly with the soulful jazz tinged compositions. Each song is well thought out with very meaningful lyrics and strong singing. Once again, it is a pleasure to listen to as a whole and is very soothing and calming.

"Coming Home" is dreamy soulful introduction and starts the album off really well. "My Heart" is an addictive fast paced track packed with lots of rythym and blues. "I Idolise You" is a slow bluesy track with a great melody and heartfelt vocals. "Hey Man" has a sweet acapella introduction and then builds into a very lovely ballad. "Another Angel" has a soft rock feel to it and "When I Fall" is another fantastic sounding ballad. "Leaving Me Standing Alone" is a funky mid tempo track with a cool jazzy bass line. "Speak Your Heart" is a very sweet romantic ballad and is followed by a catchy folk inspired guitar led song "This Is". This sound continues on the next two wonderful compositions "Song For Mia" and "Thank You". The album ends with a very atmospheric yet very beautiful ballad called "Strange".

"The Orchard" is a great album and a must buy for fans of Lizz Wright's music and for those who enjoy listening to great vocals and lyrics, accompanied by soft arrangements. This album definitely deserves 4 stars and is a quality recording.
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on 21 June 2012
I had the pleasure of listening to Lizz Wright at the Women in Jazz series at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in May 2012. She was phenomenal and has the potential to develop herself into quite a force in the world of jazz, should she decide to move in that direction.

Lizz is great on this recording but I only gave 3 stars for this review because the vinyl is abysmal. At moderately high volumes the sound distorts. I'm using a very high-end analog system and this only happens when I have well worn/played records that are 40 or more years old. If I had known this before I bought the LPs I would have gotten the CD version, which is what I recommend to anyone with a great analog setup. Great album so I do recommend its purchase.
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on 10 January 2014
Love it! Absolutely great to listen to - inspiring and very soulful and comforting.

Would recommend this to all those strong, beautiful women who carry a lot in their hearts.
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on 17 October 2012
Bought this some time ago and it is an album which hasn't faded and which has continued to be a favourite. Great tunes and a fantastic voice which should be much more widely known.
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on 16 September 2015
Lizz is great on this, as always
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