Naomi LaViolette is a siren — and if she isn’t, then she damn sure is possessed by one, because it is impossible not to be ensnared by her jazzy vocal prowess. On her eponymous debut full-length, LaViolette navigates the musical territories of jazz, funk, folk and the blues with all the grace and aplomb of a seasoned veteran. It’s hard not to catch shades of Madeleine Peyroux, Halie Loren and even a hint of Joni Mitchell in her vocals. These twelve tracks are gorgeous slices of heaven you’ll want to hear over and over again.
Whether singing her own material or giving George Gershwin’s “Our Love is Here to Stay” a spin, LaViolette owns her performances, giving them the subtlety or power they need, all the while she draws you in with her passion and soul. She scorches on the flirty ditty “Hey Yeah,” her delicate vocals shimmer on “Love on a Rainy Day” and “My Superman” is like a straight ahead jazz version of Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.”
These are only the album’s first four songs; the magic continues throughout the rest of the record as well, as she channels a bit of Diana Krall on rich piano ballads like “Fragile” and strolls into piano pop territory with “Somewhere New to Stand.” With each successive track, LaViolette continues to cast her spell on you, and the effect never lessens.
LaViolette shows herself to be a master of vocal ranges, musical genres, various moods and lyrical precision. Even when a few of the songs exceed five minutes, there is no filler because she does not confuse languidness with laziness. Every aspect of this record pushes in a specific direction with confidence and helps make the already beautiful results transcendent. LaViolette never loses your attention for a moment, even during the lullaby-like “Bright Eyes.” You want to catch every sound, every word, every note and enjoy it in all its lushness.
So rarely are albums events that are not to be missed, but this is definitely one of those instances. LaViolette is a remarkable talent and her self-titled debut is a spectacular introduction to her enchanting sound.