Lenora Zenzalai Helm – Voice Paintings
Lenora Zenzalai Helm
(Midlantic – 2003)
by Paula Edelstein
The idea behind vocal textures, colors and sounds has been around a long time but Lenora Zenzalai Helm seems to have perfected it on VOICE PAINTINGS. On this, her label debut for Midlantic Records, the stunning vocalist, composer, arranger, teaching artist and jazz educator is accompanied by pianist Brandon McCune, bassist Dwayne Burno, drummer Nasheet Waits, Antonio Hart on alto saxophone, Duane Eubanks, and Abraham Burton on tenor saxophone. Together they celebrate their harmonious state on 12 great songs including Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” Nina Simone’s great tone poem “Images 3:04” and her lovely, emotional operatic rendition of Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now/The Man I Love.”
Included are four songs that Helm either wrote or co-wrote that speak highly of her composing abilities. Helm not only paints these great musical images on our minds, but she sculpts her phrasings with just the right finesse giving her listeners a sense of her rich vocalese, inspirations and places where her eloquent musical language emanates from the heart, mind and soul. She just gets better with time. Listen for yourself at www.midlanticrecords.com.