CD REVIEW: Lisa Hugo - It's Time
By Cyrus Rhodes
Sounds Like: Natalie Cole, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald
Melbourne Australian jazz singer/songwriter/pianist Lisa Hugo releases “It’s Time” in March 31, 2009. This is their 3rd release.
Logging in at just over 42 minutes the CD kicks things off with “With you I can be Me” a cool upbeat intro piece serving up steady beat, melodic jazz guitar, and smooth vocals from Hugo. Track 2 “Blame it on the Sun” is an impressive remake of this classic Stevie Wonder melody serving up impressive piano accents, solo guitar work, and more honey coated vocals from Hugo. Track 3 “Loving You” dishes out yet another strong melody with driving rhythm, impressive melodic harmonies, and well placed vocal accents. The music itself has a jazz vibe reminiscent of Nora Jones, Barbra Streisand, Eva Cassidy and a dash of Natalie Cole. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in Hugo’s Belgium band are quite accomplished. The guitar work of Dirk Van Der Linden is extremely melodic. The drummer Peter Vandergooten pushes the natural accents perfectly. Stand up bass work from Janos Bruneel clearly gives this production it's silky jazz aftertaste. Last but not least Lisa Hugo is impressive on the piano. What I like the most about this 4 piece is how well they groove together – testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. As for her vocal abilities, Lisa Hugo’s voice fits perfectly into the Jazz genera - like a glove. Yep this is clearly where she belongs. Her voice goes down smooth and like the aforementioned, she fills the Jazz space flawlessly. Along the way you will no doubt notice some of her vocal influences - Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald. As for the music, all songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. Hugo delivers11 solid tracks all providing deep, thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting and positive. “Butterfly” and “Oh My Baby” "Please try to Understand" are jazz gems that flow cleanly and tightly. While pieces like “I’m Gonna Miss you”, and “Find Myself“ are emotional testimonies to life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Hugo delivers yet 2 more impressive cover songs like “Time is a Healer” and “The Letter”. Here Hugo successfully dabbles in sultry blues type rock. The music of Lisa Hugo has everything you would expect from a world class jazz production. From start to finish – It’s pretty much amazing. The CD ends with Track 11 “Strong at Heart” providing rich conventional wisdom that simply cannot be faked no matter how hard you try.
After spending 42 minutes with Lisa Hugo and company I simply abandoned all hopes of finding any weakness. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed. “It’s Time” is a world class musical production from start to finish. There’s not a weak song on this entire catalogue period! The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of Lisa Hugo are world class, and her X-Factor dial is well into the Green Band, Lisa Hugo is an artist worthy of attention, spotlight, and praise. Everything about Lisa Hugo screams talent and professionalism. Lisa Hugo is the real deal, and it's just a matter of time before she reaches critical acclaim on an international level. I guess could go on and on all night about Lisa Hugo you simply have got to get your hands on some of his music and see what I am talking about. You should start with “It’s Time.” What else can I say - It's simply amazing!
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