Many jazz artists have flirted with American gospel music but very few have attempted to build a discography explicitly dedicated to the word. Philadelphia-based vocalist Ruth Naomi Floyd, a soulful songbird/composer, continues her crusade to spread the gospel through the alluring power of urban-flavored jazz fusion on her second outing, With New Eyes. More akin to CeCe Winans than Aretha Franklin, Floyd hones a powerful authoritative soprano that soars like an eagle through the varying idioms that range from thrustful funk to airy waltz. Her swooping phrasing sometimes suggests a decidedly restrained Patti Labelle, while her sensibility for swing veers in the direction of Sheila Jordan.
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