Written By: Warren J. McCrickard
“The Great Lady of Soul” has done it again! On her Change is Gonna Come Session digital only EP, Ms. Bettye LaVette has raised the standard of soul music by providing six amazing renditions of soul, jazz, and blues classics. With deep conviction and powerful vocal presence, every word that Ms. LaVette sings, the listener believes as a testament of the truth. It is only with a long, successful career and an undying passion for music that an artist can convey so much within each note of every song.
Ms. LaVette chose to lead off the album with the title track “Change is Gonna Come,” a Sam Cooke masterpiece that she sang with Jon Bon Jovi at the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” concert. The studio version is as convincing and ethereal as the Inauguration performance. She sings from a place of understanding knowing that change has come, but not fully and until it does, she must continue to sing.
She follows this track with “’Round Midnight,” one of Thelonious Monk’s most well known pieces. The song begins with a laid back groove while Ms. LaVette effortlessly croons Suppertime/ I’m feeling sad/But it really gets me bad/’Round Midnight. But as the song continues, the instrumentation gradually builds along side her less subtle pleas Let our love take wing some midnight/’Round midnight/Let the angels sing.
Each song is pleasantly arranged with Ms. LaVette’s signature ebb and flow of both range and characterization. She proclaims “God Bless The Child” and overcomes her loneliness by proudly singing about the “Lush Life” she’ll soon have in Paris.
LaVette might be a veteran of the music game but this album shows she’s still got a lot fire in the tank. Keeping the album an EP ensured that the listener gets six great songs worthy of continued play.