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Somi - The Lagos Music Salon / Wondering Sound Weekly Jazz Pick

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Somi, The Lagos Music Salon: Somi has one of the most alluring voices on the scene today. It's the kind of thing where her voice can take a mediocre song and make it something better. On her newest, there are some moments like that. Resulting from her move from NYC to Lagos in the search for new creative inspirations, this sprawling album reflects the goal of breaking down old boundaries and exploring new directions. An updated soul jazz recording, Somi hits sounds that reflect a number of influences, and looks forward as often as it harkens back to more classic sounds. Somi is joined by her core band of drummer Otis Brown III, pianist Toru Dodo, guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Michael Olatuja, background vocalist Alicia Alatuja, and a variety of guest artists (including strings). As with any creative reboot, there's going to be some hits and misses, but as mentioned previously, even those "misses" feature Somi's gorgeous voice, so it's pretty easy to highly recommend her newest. Both parts one and two of "Love JuJu" are cheerfully catchy, and "Last Song" is just plain lovely, but "Brown Round Things," featuring guest trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, is just plain stunning. Somi's Live at the Jazz Standard is the recording that got me hooked on her voice and vision.-Dave Sumner