Music Review: Lizz Wright (Guitar Soul Music)

Guitar Soul Music

By MICHAEL McCALL, For The Associated Press

On the cover of Lizz Wright's third album, the Georgia native stands in the middle of a fertile field surrounded by lush, ready-to-blossom plants. It's the perfect image for this bountiful album from an artist who has reached full bloom and should finally attract the large audience she deserves.

Working again with producer Craig Street, Wright moves further away from the accessible jazz of her 2003 debut "Salt" and toward contemporary soul with without sacrificing any of her music's sensuality or spare beauty. Songs like the "I Idolize You" and "Speak Your Heart" are mature songs about love and desire, while "When I Fall" has a spiritual quality that's grounded in reality.

Working with rock and acoustic music veterans as she did on her second CD, 2005's folk-tinged "Dreaming Wide Awake," Wright keeps the emphasis on her smoky, expressive alto. The music is often as languid as a hot day on a Mississippi pond or a warm night outdoors amid silk curtains and tender breezes.

Wright, like Norah Jones and Diana Krall, takes a jazz sensibility and makes it accessible without compromising her artful style. With "The Orchard," she deserves to reach the high-profile stature of those two contemporaries.

CHECK THIS OUT: "This Is" blends nylon-string classical guitar, African percussion and down-home organ to create a steamy, impressionistic atmosphere that perfectly envelopes Wright's voice.

Guitar Soul Music

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