The song stylist sells out a pair of New York City shows on the eve of the release of her critically-acclaimed new album, Embraceable
Glowing reviews have embraced the arrival of the fifth album from song stylist Nicole Henry, which was released Tuesday (August 23) by ArtistShare. On Monday night, Henry performed many of the songs from Embraceable at a pair of sold-out, standing room-only shows to enraptured audiences at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.
Henry was backed at Dizzy’s by a gifted combo, including Grammy nominated guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Larry Grenadier (Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Fly) and drummer Eric Harland (Joshua Redman, McCoy Tyner, Charles Lloyd), each of whom performed on Embraceable. Rounding out the ensemble were pianist Aaron Goldberg (Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Madeleine Peyroux) and saxophonist Dayna Stephens (Roy Hargrove, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder).
Produced by Grammy nominee Matt Pierson (Kirk Whalum, Jane Monheit, Joshua Redman), who corralled a collective of world-class musicians, Embraceable is being worked at multiple radio formats, including straight-ahead jazz and smooth/contemporary jazz, the latter of which was serviced Henry’s sterling and totally unique interpretation of the Bob Marley classic “Waiting In Vain.” USA Today’s Elysa Gardner wrote “The silver-voiced songbook interpreter adds Bob Marley to her repertoire, with typical elegance, on Embraceable.”
Profiled last week in a Sunday spotlight feature in the Miami Herald, the suburban Philadelphia native-Miami transplant will support Embraceable with a flurry of performances, events and a radio interview in her adopted hometown. On Sunday, Henry will perform at Unity Church in Fort Lauderdale. Next Monday, she will be interviewed live on public radio station WLRN. On the 30th, catch Henry on stage in Kendall at Blue Martini. An official album listening party will be held at The Stage on August 31st at which Henry will perform. The following night, Henry will dazzle the crowd at Loews Miami Beach.
Below are highlights from some of the early reviews of Embraceable:
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “It is true skill when a performer can create a memorable moment with new material. That is exactly what singer Nicole Henry does with the song ‘Even When You're Gone’ on her new album, Embraceable. In a presentation that is rich both in voice and grasp of song, she creates a story about loss that seems poetically deeper than the lyrics state.”
Smooth Jazz Daily: “Nicole Henry combines amazing beauty with blissful talent…Nicole Henry's Embraceable is an impressive artistic statement of an astonishing vocal talent. This lady inhabitates [sic] the songs like the divine Ella Fitzgerald.”
SoulTracks: “Nicole Henry possesses the kind of sing-the-phone-book voice that is both commonplace and necessary among interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Her phrasing is impeccable and Henry also has the kind of vocal pronunciation that ensures that her listeners will understand each word…Embraceable continues a trend of artists putting considerable thought into projects featuring pop standards. It features covers that have not been done to death and a new and attractive sheen on some well-loved songs. Embraceable also includes originals that sport top-flight lyrics and musical arrangements that draw from the church, the blues club and the Broadway stage. On all of this, Nicole Henry and her collaborators strike a great balance and Henry proves herself to be a fine interpreter and song stylist.”
The Smooth Jazz Ride: “With a touch here and there reminiscent of the sweet charm of the Dionne Warwick/Burt Bacharach glory years, the bluesiness of Joss Stone, and her own genuinely stirring soul sound, vocalist Nicole Henry drops in on us with a project that captures the attention almost effortlessly with her release, Embraceable. At times, spinning standards into soul-kissed beauties all her own and at other times using her pure vocals on her own originals (four in all), Henry spells sweetness and depth. Her spirited and uplifting vocals truly carry the day here easily. With special help from John Stoddart and Kirk Whalum on select tracks, this young lady does a wonderful job of combining soul, a bit of gospel, blues, and jazz in a signature fashion that offers as much by way of originality and imaginative interpretation as you could want.”
Hill Rag: “Vocalist Nicole Henry’s latest album offers a glimpse of the soul and elegance of this young, vibrant and contemporary jazz singer. Grammy nominated producer Matt Pierson produced the album in exquisite detail, showcasing such winners like ‘A Little Time Alone,’ ‘Even While You’re Gone,’ ‘Waiting In Vain,’ and ‘Embraceable You.’”
O’s Place Jazz Magazine: “This is her fifth release, arguably her best. Nicole continues to improve as a dramatic vocalist with her rich soulful voice. ‘Since I Fell for You’ is a perfect match for Henry and one of several standouts.”
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