New World N Jazz
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Sunkissed, the title of Ashleigh Smith’s August 26, 2016 debut on Concord Records, describes her singing perfectly. The 27-year-old Dallas-based winner of the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocals Competition possesses an iridescent alto that radiates a spectrum of poised emotions. While clearly she’s capable of tackling material underscored by darker themes such as heartache and sobering social commentary, optimistic rays of light always shine through her voice.
The disc reveals Smith to be a gifted songwriter too. She co-wrote five of the disc’s 10 compositions. Like the musicians accompanying her, most of Smith’s writing partners – electric bassist Nigel Rivers and guitarist Joel Cross – were fellow classmates of hers from the University of North Texas, where she studied jazz. Indeed, enlisting a cadre of musicians whom she’s already forged a sparkling rapport imbues Sunkissed with a greater sense of warmth and personal conviction. “I wanted people who have already been an integral part of my musical development,” Smith explains. “We were all in music class and jazz forums together; we also performed together. They played a big part into the making of who I am as a musician. That’s something you figure out not necessarily in the classroom but when you’re performing on stage.”
Contact Zak Weil at Concord Music Group for site inquiries