“Her New Orleans roots are the fundamental source of Booker’s singing, which also blossoms into straight ahead jazz, R&B, soul, Brazilian and beyond. No wonder she has a resume that reaches from Wynton Marsalis to Billy Higgins.”
-Don Heckman, International Review of Music (October 2009)
New Orleans-born jazz vocalist, arranger and composer Sandra Booker releases, When Love Happens: The Loving Day Concert. This ten-track CD is an impressive collection of contemporary and sacred music. Its six original compositions take us on a musical journey through life, love, regret and redemption, set against the backdrop of New Orleans’ rich Creole culture.
Recorded live, June 12, 2009 at the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park, CA, her new CD celebrates Loving Day, which commemorates the 1967 Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, that legalized interracial marriage in all 50 states of America. This recording finds her in top form as she struts her sophisticated musical stuff with her signature warm and cozy phrasing, powerhouse vocals and impeccable story-telling skills.
When Love Happens: The Loving Day Concert highlights her strengths as a sensitive, spirited singer/performer but also as an accomplished composer/arranger. Booker’s reputation as a songwriter is more than worth noting and is most impressive. On this outing, she shows her musical prowess on six original tracks, including the ultra-romantic "Café du Monde," which marries African and Haitian drum rhythms to the elegance of French chanson, and the irresistible foot-stomping, tango influenced second-line groove of "Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler," both of which pay homage to her hometown, the Crescent City. Other standouts are the hauntingly beautiful ballad Somehow and the festive samba styled Spring Song. Booker continues to gain industry buzz as a prolific composer. Her song, Wandering Road, co-written with bassist and producer John Leftwich, was featured in the new 2010 Paladin theatrical release, "Blood Done Sign My Name" chronicling the life of NAACP President Benjamin Chavis.
The CD features several jazz and world music artists, including Israeli piano phenomenon, Tamir Hendelman, drummer Robert Perkins, guitarist Larry Koonse, and her special guests, the Elevation Strings. Hendelman’s piano work on Alan Jay Lerner's "On A Clear Day" and Mike Melvoin and Eugene McDaniels’ modern classic, "Melody Is You" is nothing short of inspired. "Spring Song" just soars as it calls to mind long drives along the edges of Lake Ponchartrain. The engrossing string arrangements of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson lend charm and whimsy to the musical experience. With strong performances by the entire ensemble, When Love Happens: The Loving Day Concert is a triumph of Ms. Booker's timeless, facile style and enormous talent.
It's like pralines for your ear!