HIP VOICES…Lori Cullen: Sexsmith Swinghammer Songs, Lawrence Morrill Glass: Extended Play, Nicole Saphos: Tiptoe

Millennials are having a voice in the modern scene, able to bridge styles while creating their own. Here are three recent discoveries…

Lead vocalist Lori Cullen brings together a fun and quirky group of Kurt Swinghammer/g-etc, Maury LaFoy/b-perc, Robbie Grunwald/key, Mark Mariash/dr and a slew of guests for a collection of songs composed by Swinghammer and lyrics delivered by Ron Sexsmith. Her clear enunciation work well with Colin Savage’s bass clarinet on “The Face Of Emily” and Byden Baird’s Herb Alpert-ish horn on the calm and joyful “Something Right,” “Don’t Go Yet” and “True.” A duet with the composer on “Off Somewhere” is cozy and folksy; a nice mix of intimacy and joy.

The 5 song by the Lawrence Morrill Glass ensemble includes one folksy guitar piece rich in voice on “No Christmas This Year” along with some hard rock anthems such as “The Habit of You” and “Californ-i-a.” There’s a C&W feel with indie touches on the whimsical “Tina Fey” and with mechanical synth drums, some heavy metal thunder hits hard with rough and ready voice on “Mary Contrary.” A big mix and match set.

The most bona fide jazzer of the three is the one delivered  by bassist and vocalist Nicole Saphos, who forms a hip and swinging trio with John Lee/g and Ele Rubenstein/dr for a mix of jazz standards and originals. She has a late night cabaret voice as the team snaps to her bass on “Just One of Those Things” and is creamy and playful on ”Say It Isn’t So.” She teams up well with Lee on a clever read of Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” and the team delves into a deep groove on “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Her own “Hot Knife” and “Moon Ray” are hep cats, while the 50s guitar on “Doesn’t Do” makes you put some Wildroot in your hair. A real fun one!





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