Faith Harris – The Time Is Right
Ann Faith Harris was born and reared in the blue collar music mecca of Buffalo, New York. Growing up in a household headed by her mother, a classically trained vocalist, Faith started singing hymns and anthems in her family church, St. Phillips Episcopal. Throughout her school years, she studied piano, sang in school choirs, ensembles, and formed several singing groups as she performed in and around the very vibrant city musical scene. After receiving her BA degree from the University of Buffalo, in Black Studies and vocal performance, Faith became the founder and musical director of a large community choir called the Imani Music Workshop.
She released this smoking album The Time Is Right, in 2012. Reflecting back upon it, this is something I’m sorry I missed. This is a good release by a real-good artist who should be further exposed to all genres, because it deserves more than the jazz and vocal tags it holds on the internet. It crosses over from pure freeform jazz to other areas of culture, to cover a wider range of listeners. But make no mistake, she doesn’t forget the traditional foundations either. You always have to have that altogether if you want to make it in jazz, but also step outside the box without disgracing the form.
Beginning with “The Time Is Right” to establish the point was a good idea, as it gives the rest of the songs some room to follow it up by getting the title track out of the way, which is often the chosen lead single. You get the feeling she means business without trying to sound preachy on this, and it continues until the very last note. And some of it even sounds like you heard it before, but you wouldn’t know from whom or where she got it. “Street Life” is one of those, and so is the following track “Brother Can You Spare A Dime.” They’re as familiar sounding as it gets. But there are also more modern stylings too.
“Morning Glory” with its bursts of sensation, is a track I find to be of the utmost effort to pull off traditional jazz and go completely unnoticed at it, and that’s what places it at the top of them all. It’s a big number indeed, that loses you in her voice and keeps you there the entire time. Just an outstanding piece of music, with everything that is good about this disc. And if that doesn’t win you over, check the next track “Here’s To You” with its much more up-tempo, reggae infused beats and rhythms. This is about where things peak and take you back down the ladder to leave you more than happy you experienced it.
“Hide Myself From View” has a more dramatic vibe that takes more exploring, even though the lyrics spell most of it out. This is a thought provoking piece that just doesn’t get fully appreciated the first time you hear it. Let it grow, because it is a grower. But also get in to the sweet sounds of “Open The Door” and “Compared To What” as they bring back to back sassy soul with high vocal notes and snappy percussion. And if that is not enough, “We Will Find A Way” is just the right ticket before finding some more “Peace” can be heard, and the final words come out of The Time Is Right Reprise. And you will play it again and again.
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-time-is-right-faith-harris/25308522