By Michele L. Simms-Burton | Published March 2020
Vocalist Michelle Lordi assembles an all-star band to take her musical journey beyond a firm grounding in jazz to a more diverse and eclectic sonic landscape. But Break Up With The Sound still pulls in some classics while punctuating the proceedings with five original compositions, including two with contributions from Lordi’s bandmates.
The vocalist’s cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome” accentuates the country-waltz character of the tune, and conjures images and sounds of a funeral march. Despite her desire to move beyond jazz here, Lordi throws in a version of “Lover Man,” where bassist Matthew Parrish dexterously opens the tune before saxophonist Donny McCaslin’s phrasing creates the ambience for the vocalist to deliver a flawless and weighty sound. But to fully appreciate Lordi’s abilities, one has only to take in “Before.” With guitarist Tim Motzer doubling on electronics to provide a new-age sound and a memorable solo, the tune showcases Lordi’s deftness at crafting a song replete with good storytelling.
“Red House Serenata”—composed by Parrish, Motzer and drummer Rudy Royston—functions like an interlude and serves as the album’s only instrumental.
Easy, slow-tempo tunes dominate, though, and the simplicity of Lordi’s style controverts the textures she creates. This is no better demonstrated than on the original “Double-Crossed,” which Lordi composed with McCaslin, the saxophonist finding space for an extended solo, again reminding listeners why David Bowie hired his band to record Blackstar.
Break Up With The Sound: Poor Bird; Wayward Wind; Double-Crossed; True Love; Before; No Expectations; Lover Man; Red House Serenata; Red House Blues; I’m So Lonesome. (55:19)
Personnel: Michelle Lordi, vocals; Donny McCaslin (1, 3, 7, 9), tenor saxophone; Tim Motzer, guitar, electronics; Matthew Parrish, bass; Rudy Royston, drums.