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"Blue Alert"

by Bill Wahl

Jazz and Blues Report

July-August 2006
Anjani Thomas has been playing piano and adding her vocals to many of Leonard Cohenís albums dating back to 1984. Before joining the Canadian poet/songwriter/singer, she worked the jazz clubs in New York and performed with Stanley Clarke and others. After she wrote the title track based on some poems she happened across at Cohenís place one day, he was quite taken with it and gave her a pile of them to work with. She indeed went to work and the result is this gorgeous, melodic, very laid back, smokey collection of ballads showcasing her very sweet voice and piano playing.

It is not her first album, but it is the first on a major label. No doubt Cohen had something to do with getting her heard by the powers to be at Columbia, and no doubt thatís all he had to do. Having heard some samples of her earlier music, it is quite obvious she has dropped her voice very low for this outing, on which she sounds like a bit of a female Leonard Cohen, and her phrasing and sense of timing is very much like his. Check out "Half The Perfect World" and the closing waltz "Thanks For The Dance" for instance. Wonderful. The entire set is performed with very sparse accompaniment, in fact she is mostly solo with just her voice and keyboards, and I presume the bass and the light brushwork on drums is her as well.

It would be very tempting to start spouting off some lines from the lyrics on some of these songs, but if you are at all familiar with Cohen, youíll know what to expect from his protegé. Leonard Cohen perhaps sums her up best as he states "Anjaniís music is exotic, dreamy and hypnotic." To add to the pleasure, this music was marvelously recorded. Crank it up a bit, sit in your favorite chair, close your eyes Ė it sounds like sheís right in the room with you. Yes, and many will wish. Do yourself a favor, pick this one up, or at least check her out at where you can click to the Amazon link to sample some songs. You can read all the lyrics at Indeed, Hawaiian-born Anjani might just give you a glimpse of musical paradise. What a coincidence.

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