You like it or not, as time goes by art has to evolve one way or another. In films we get a new franchise or genre going through the whole comes in, finds success and then slowly (or quickly) comes to an end; in plastics a whole new raises from the ashes of its predecessor as a direct follow up or complete departure; and of course music, where most genres in order to disappear or perish, needs to either blend with other different styles or if they are lucky enough, get talented musicians that helps keep the legacy intact.
On Samantha Leon’s self-titled, Kickstarter-funded new EP, the New York native takes the free style elements of Jazz and mix it with a wide range of influences that goes all the way from Pop to Folk. “Bright Yellow Shoes” kicks off with some beautiful violin arrangements that introduce us to a guitar driven single where Leon’s sweet, sultry vocals steals the whole show. “High (You Only Love Me When You Are F*cked Up)” has this nice improv vibe where once again, instruments are kept to a minimum and the star is once again Samantha who changes the innocence from the previous track for a more sassy attitude that fits so well with the music playing in the background. By this time there’s no doubt this is Samantha Leon’s record first and foremost. There are some great musicians helping her creating the mood for her to shine. Another great thing about the record is that it knows how to capture the somewhat particular sound from NYC Jazz scene in such a fantastic way you get easily lost in the music as you picture yourself sit it at a club, watching the NY bred and her band performing live right in front of you.
If I were to throw in some negatives, it would probably have to be the same thing that makes this a really nice record. That is, of course, the music. This is one of those “you either love it or hate it” materials. If you are in no way interested in artists like Norah Jones, then you might find yourself bored to death. This isn’t your La La Land or Michael Buble album, nor it seems it was intended to be.
Criteria - 80%
Overall, if you enjoy well-structured and driven improvised, vocal driven music - this is certainly a record you need to pay attention to and check out immediately. Hopefully, though, by the next record Samantha could get more funds and get her background have more room to also wow people with their talent as she certainly did.