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Carmen Lundy: Soul to Soul

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Carmen Lundy’s 14th album marks the culmination of a musical journey that began more than a year ago in her home studio. While composing (or co-composing) 11 of the 13 tracks and writing all of the arrangements, Lundy established the feel of each tune by playing and recording demos of the bass, drum, piano, guitar and percussion parts. She also shaped each piece with her desired bandmates in mind. In addition to her regular rhythm section members, bassist Darryl Hall and drummer Jamison Ross, Lundy’s wish list, fully realized in the end, included pianists Patrice Rushen and Geri Allen, trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonists Bennie Maupin and Ada Rovatti, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, percussionist Mayra Casales and harp player Carol Robbins.

The result is an understandably rich, intricate pastiche that travels from the aptly titled opener, “Kindred Spirits,” a lively homage to collective creative fulfillment, to the gently but powerfully admonishing “When Will They Learn” and, progressing from soft glitter to funky ebullience, the two-part “Grateful.”

As Lundy’s trek unfolded, she added one unexpected collaborator. Meeting Simphiwe Dana in Johannesburg, Lundy shared the still-in-development “Grace” with the South African vocalist. Simphiwe responded by singing the melody in her native Xhosa and then co-wrote (and co-performs) the bilingual lyric. The finished track is a jewel, a blissful ode to handed-down lessons in strength and dignity that underscore the entire album’s elegance.

Originally Published