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I Saw The Sky by Melissa Walker

In a musical climate where press goes to who is the most fervently hyped it is refreshing to hear someone like Canadian vocalist Melissa Walker, who has blossomed at her own pace. Barely into her thirties, she sounds like a cross between Carmen McRae and Betty Carter, has a sound grasp on how to phrase a lyric, doesn’t oversing a song, and possesses a voice that is the aural equivalent of warm honey.

I Saw The Sky, her third release on the Enja label, is a warm collection of standards and some newer contemporary compositions to which Walker has written lyrics. Where many of her peers would succumb to saccharine sentimentality on such selections as "Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You" and "I’m Old Fashioned", Walker hits the right notes and exercises restraint, sending the emotional tone for the songs.

Walker is capably backed by her standard trio and guests Kenny Baron and Stefon Harris, whose fiery vibe playing ignite the aforementioned "Nothing.... " and "I Get Along Very Well Without You". "I’m In Love", the album’s closer, builds up to a crescendo of piano driven bop, Walker effortlessly surfing the melodies and finding her niche in the song. These are traits that some veteran jazz musicians take decades to learn; Melissa Walker’s mastery of them barely into her thirties make her a talent to watch.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Melissa Walker
  • CD Title: I Saw The Sky
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: enja
  • Rating: Five Stars
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