me'na-(living my life)
chris parker for clevescene.com
canton singer me'na survived brain surgery and rediscovered her love of music, working in musical theater before recording her debut, living my life. over an elastic, r&b funk riff on the title track, me'na sings of her trials and inspirational rebirth. she collaborated with producer nathaniel rhodes on 7 of the 12 tracks, mostly soul- and blues-inflected originals with a cool cabaret vibe. she also lends her versatile vocals to excellent renditions of old standards "summertime" and "my funny valentine." the album highlight is the sassy, infectious "p.i.a. (plan in action)," in which me'na proclaims, "most of my adult life, i've dealt with some funny-ass ways." you go, girl!
talking about jazzy soul – or soulful jazz music, an album by a songstress named me'na, living my life (us menasvision, 2006) is also worth checking. just like the liberty silver cd, it's a combination of standards (my funny valentine, summertime, down by the river) and new and more soul-oriented songs. of the last mentioned, the title track is an impressive slice of mid-tempo soul with a real instrumentation, including tasty acoustic piano basis and some funky guitar playing.
other tracks that should grab your attention include the ethereal, trumpet-flavoured (joe miller) ballad deja view, the extremely stylish flute and piano-laced journey begins with you, the equally elegant ballad tune home and the absolutely wonderful, sax-drenched ballad stoopid. the swaying closing track time is something you might expect from a future ledisi album. if you're into jazzy soul music like fertile ground and more recently the five corners quintet and the invisible session, me'na's cd should be right up your alley!