Love Fuels the Music of Piano Empress Aziza
The Journey of Love (EP)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
Keyboardist/Composer/Singer Aziza Miller has produced a tight 6-song EP of laidback songs that float in that space where Caribbean Jazz and Latin Soul mingle, dance and make love all day long. “A Brand New Song” is a groove reminiscent of Tania Maria that starts off instrumental then at the very end opens up into a vocal affirmation that can start one’s day on a sunny note. The title track “The Journey of Love” is a slice of Joe Sample meets Ahmad Jamal loveliness punctuated by the poppin’ bass of Alex Blake and percussion by Gary Fritz. It’s followed by “A Song For My Friend,” an autobiographical and confessional homage that Aziza wrote in honor of singer Natalie Cole who passed away on New Year’s Eve this year and for whom Aziza (then Linda Williams) was Musical Director off and on for 40 years (including co-writing the Brazilian jazz standard, “La Costa”). Aziza’s melody and vocal are haunting and heart-on-sleeve, sure to touch all who also loved the lady and her legacy of song.
The second half of the EP begins with “I Don’t Say Much,” a sassy finger-poppin’ fusion of Jazz and Go-Go Funk that playfully explores the agree to disagree nature of a relationship where one partner talks too much but is in blissful denial. The vocal lines give away the punch line with street `tude humor. Next is “A Song For Silver,” dedicated to one of Aziza’s mentors the incomparable pianist/composer Horace Silver who taught her the value of retaining all rights to her publishing. The song lovingly ebbs and flows between three distinct parts, anchored in a beautifully camouflaged flip of Silver’s biggest hit, “Song For My Father.” Closing the EP is “Say Yes (Time To Get My Blessing),” a shameless synth and handclaps dance tune of inspiration and gratitude to “The One” for all gifts bestowed upon her.
Elegant, heartfelt and varied in its grooves, Aziza Miller’s The Journey of Love is a filler-free winner that should be a primer for recording artists today. Six good songs are better than 14 or more bloated with fat. Less is most often more.
A. Scott Galloway
The Urban Music Scene
September 23, 2016