CD REVIEW: Lisa Bell - "Dancing on the Moon"
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"12 solid tracks"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Lisa Be
CD: Dancing on the Moon
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Vocal Jazz, Pop Rock, R&B
Sounds Like: Miami Sound Machine, Nora Jones, Barbara Streisand
Technical Grade: 10/10
Weakness: Conservative Vocal Delivery
Boulder Colorado’s own Lisa Bell releases “Dancing on the Moon” in 2010 which features 12 new songs, 9 featuring electric guitarist Bob Story & acoustic guitarist Mark Oblinger (Firefall) who also just so happened to produce the album & even wrote the title track.
The CD kicks things off with the title track “Dancing on the Moon” a sultry intro piece that serves up steady beat, melodic jazz guitar, & smooth vocals from Bell. Track 2 “No Time” is an impressive groove that dishes out soothing melody, well placed percussive accents against more honey coated vocals from Bell making for an impressive ballad. Track 3 “Change is Free” shifts gears a bit with a steady low end groove that showcases a slamming rhythm section, impressive Hammond Organ chops, & well placed harmonies & vocal from Bell. I especially like her sassiness on this piece. The music itself has a soothing jazz-pop-rock vibe reminiscent of classic acts Nora Jones, Miami Sound Machine, Barbra Streisand, Eva Cassidy & maybe a dash of Natalie Cole. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in Bell’s band are quite accomplished. Kudos goes out to the impressive guitar work from both Bob Story & Mark Oblinger. The rhythm section (bass & drums) push the natural accents well. Last but not least Bell makes the whole thing work. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. As for her vocal abilities, Bell’s voice works well within the confines of Jazz-rock. Her voice goes down smooth & fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively. Along the way you will notice some of her vocal influences – Gloria Estefan, Barbra Streisand, & Ella Fitzgerald. By track 3 the CD hits sold stride delivering 5 solid tracks back to back including my personal favorites “After All” & “Stand up” All songs are extremely well crafted & consistent across the board. This CD from Bell delivers 12 solid tracks all providing thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting & positive. The music of Lisa Bell has everything you would expect from a professional jazz-pop-rock production. From upbeat “Move on” & How Long” to soothing “Better Days” to tranquil “Misty Roses” to grooving “Stand up” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. There’s even an impressive James Taylor cover” Fire & Rain” that mixes thing up well. From start to finish – It’s a rock solid CD. The CD ends with Track 12 “Carry On” providing rich conventional wisdom that simply cannot be faked no matter how hard you try.
It’s had to find any weaknesses with this CD. But if could say anything to Lisa Bell right now it would be take a few more vocal risks on some of your songs, & really push that emotional envelope in a way that is 100% un-choreographed. If you can do this you will no doubt capture lightning in a bottle & deliver some truly amazing performances. Shoot for this instead of the predictable vibrato, especially during some of the finales. Genuine emotion is a very powerful thing & at the end of the day can never be controlled – even in the confines of a recording studio. So turn up the heat & give us something we will never forget. This is what separates legends from other music professionals. Some songs lack serious emotional delivery, & seem a bit conservative. It’s fair to say some songs sound a bit dated & are predictable in their overall delivery.
After spending 45+ minutes alone with Lisa Bell & company I simply abandoned any hopes of finding any serious weakness. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed. “Dancing on the Moon” is a top notch musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalogue. The musicianship is first rate; the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of Lisa Bell& her band are impressive. My hats off guitarist Mark Oblinger (Firefall) who is no stranger to the music business - for his guitar virtuoso & producers touch. Everything about Lisa Bell screams talent & professionalism. I guess could go on and on all night about Lisa Bell you simply have got to get your hands on some of his music and see what I am talking about. You should start with “Dancing on the Moon."
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