Passionate about opera and musical theater, vocalist Alicia Olatuja has a rich R&B/soul register that merges Natalie Cole’s elegant style with Joss Stone’s depth of range. Her latest offering Timeless is an assortment of classic pop tracks with sprigs of gospel, soul, and blues sewn into the fabric displaying Olatuja’s pleasing tones prominently.
Her solo with pianist Jon Cowherd on “Love Me Still” accentuates her soaring vocals. They are accompanied by her husband on bass, whose springy vaults shape the gentle flow of the rhythmic grooves in conjunction with drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. Her duet with bassist Christian McBride on “Speak the Words” asserts her acute instinct to synchronize her vocals with the plucked beats of the acoustic bass demonstrating her natural grasp of harmony.
She is joined by Cowherd once again on “In the Dark,” producing soft R&B/soul treads that support her striking vocal arches beautifully. Her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” made famous by Judy Garland, highlights the creamy timbres of her register then transitions into the R&B trimmings of “The One,” featuring the steamy swells of tenor saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.
Olatuja’s soothing performance of “Amazing Grace” is powerful, evoking warm sensations in the listener. Her interpretation of Michael Jackson’s popular tune “Human Nature” is tailored to the silky inflections of her vocals, and the cushiony texture of her voice in “Stay Gold” brings out the tranquilizing atmospherics of the instrumentation. Olatuja shows her depth of range in “Serrado” singing the lyrics in its native Spanish and moving in unison with the enchanting samba rhythm.
Timeless is a sonically pleasing recording that will surely make audiences take notice of Alicia Olatuja. Her vocal tone has shades of blues, soul, and gospel with a pop edge. Elegantly delivered and vibrant in color, her voice has an eternal beauty that transcends the dividing lines made by generations and music genres.
Alicia Olatuja – lead vocals, Michael Olatuja – acoustic and electric bass, Jon Cowherd – piano and organ, Ulysses Owens, Jr. – drums and percussion, David Rosenthal – guitar, Christian McBride – acoustic bass, Gregoire Maret – harmonica, Christian Sands – piano, Jaleel Shaw – tenor saxophone, Laurence Hobgood – arrangements
“Truth in Blue,” “Human Nature,” “Serrado,” “Stay Gold,” “Love Me Still,” “Speak the Words,” “In the Dark,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “The One,” “Amazing Grace”
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