CD REVIEW: Dwayna Litz - Counting Your Blessings
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"Litz is World Class"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Dwayna Litz
CD: Counting Your Blessings
Label: Independent Artist
Big Band, Jazz, Orchestral
Friend, Smile, Cross over the Bridge
New York based Dwayna Litz just released her latest CD entitled Counting Your Blessings in 2012. Reading from their bio: "Bringing back the Great American Songbook in a fresh way with a full orchestra and new arrangements of songs from writers like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Marilyn Bergman. Influences cited include” Doris day, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney. CD was produced by Tim Ouimette.
The CD kicks things off with “Old Friends” a cool upbeat intro piece serving up steady beat, melodic jazz ambience and smooth as silk vocals from Litz. Track 2 “Smile” is an impressive follow up statement serving up impressive jazz piano accents, well placed horn section against thought provoking lyrical content and more honey coated vocals from Litz. Track 3 “Someone to Watch over Me” dishes out a brilliant orchestral piece with eloquent strings and mesmerizing musical flow coupled with heartfelt vocal delivery y from Litz that flows and ebbs its way though to emotional fruition. The music itself has a jazz vibe reminiscent of Nora Jones, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Eva Cassidy and a dash of Natalie Cole. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in Litz’s band are quite accomplished. All horn section touches extremely melodic, the drummer pushes the natural accents perfectly and the silky rhythm section clearly gives this production. Make no bones about it this is classic Big Band Jazz with a touch or orchestra instrumentation. What I like the most about this band grooves together – testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. There is a plethora of musical instrumentation featured here including Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Jazz Piano, Flutes, Harmonica, Trumpet, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Oboe, Trombone, oboe – I could go on and on. Some pieces even venture into orchestral pieces. Now turning out attention over to Litz, as for her vocal abilities she fits perfectly into this Big Band/Jazz genera - like a glove. Yep this is clearly where she belongs. Her voice goes down smooth and her vibrato is to die for. Llike the aforementioned; she fills the Big Band Jazz space flawlessly. Along the way you will no doubt notice some of her vocal influences which may include, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald and of course Judy Garland and Doris Day. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. Litz delivers 13 solid tracks all providing deep, thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting and positive. From jumping I’m going to “Sit Right Down And Write Myself a Letter” to heartfelt “Where Do You Start” and “Satisfy My Soul” to jumping “Anything Goes” to rocking "Cross over the Bridge” this CD pretty much has something for everyone. A few pieces like “We’ll Meet Again” to the title track could be classified as orchestral pieces. The CD ends with Track 13” He Looked Beyond My Fault (And Saw My Need) the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
I normally dedicate this paragraph to any weaknesses found with the Musical Presentation. As you can see I have nothing worth mentioning.
After spending some quality time with Dwayna Litz and company I simply abandoned all hopes of finding any weakness. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed. Let me go on record and say Count Your Blessings 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 Dwayne Litz are world class, and her X-Factor dial is well into the Green Band. Dwayna Litz is an artist worthy of attention, spotlight, and praise. Everything about Litz screams talent and professionalism and she is the real deal, and it's just a matter of time before artists like her reach critical acclaim on an international level. I guess could go on and on all night about Dwayne Litz you simply have got to get your hands on some of his music and see what I am talking about. You should start with Counting You Blessings. What else can I say - It's simply amazing!