Title - 'Smoky Nights' [EP]
Artist - Jennifer Saran
For those not in the know, Jennifer Saran is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter, and vocalist, based in Hong Kong.
Her debut holiday-themed album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved was released in 2015 to many great reviews. Shortly thereafter her 2016 follow-up album Walk With Me, both of which were produced and co-written by the legendary producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Sting), were released through Walden’s Tarpan Records label.
In 2016, Saran teamed up with the South African Grammy-winning male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo (along with the Grammy and Emmy-winning producer Walden), to create Wake Up (which was released in the Summer of 2017).
Basically put, in just four years, singer-songwriter Jennifer Saran has gone from best-kept-secret status to being hailed as one of the freshest new voices in alt-pop/adult contemporary music.
And now, come September 20th, 2019, her fans are in for yet another musical treat, for the Hong Kong-based singer releases her brand new five-song Jazz EP Smoky Nights.
1. 'Smoky Nights'
2. 'The Love Is Now Gone'
3. 'Let the Waves Wash Over Me'
4. 'Don't Forget My Name'
5. 'Get Over Yourself'
As always, produced by Narada Michael Walden for his very own Tarpan Records, it finds Saran fully embracing the moody and melancholy genre of Jazz that she's loved her entire life.
“I’m so excited to be writing and singing jazz,” Saran enthuses. "I’ve always been a fan of Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. And, of course, there’s Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett."
"The songs that Narada and I are writing together follow in their traditions, the way they could blend darkness with the gentle side of things.” She laughs, then adds, “Maybe I was born too late, but I believe there’s a timelessness to this style of music."
"It’s dramatic and elegant. I’m finding that this material feels very natural to me.”
Having touched on smooth jazz with the aching ballad 'Last Kiss' from her Walk With Me album, here on Smoky Nights Saran puts both feet in the Jazz waters and fully immerses herself.
This quite stunningly authentic to the times EP opens with the sultry smoothness of the title track, 'Smoky Nights' before sliding effortlessly into the stoically melodic 'Don’t Forget My Name.'
Next up is the lush mid tempo, gentle hipsway of 'Let the Waves Wash Over Me' which is backed by the late night / early morning, underground Jazz club appeal of 'Don't Forget My Name,' with the funky sax-enhanced, finger-snappin' beauty 'Get Over Yourself.'
As for that title track cut, well, as Saran herself reveals, "It’s about a feeling you have with another person. You want to be there and you want it to work, but you know it won’t. It’s about that hesitation. You see it before you, but you can’t go there.”
Saran is especially delighted at Walden’s production work on the new EP, stating that “he’s pushing me harder than he ever has before, but in a good way."
"I was used to singing in a lower register, but on the first four albums he urged me to use the whole range of my voice, so I was singing higher, but in a softer, gentler way than you might expect."
"Now, he’s taking me back to where I was always comfortable. He really brings out the best in me. I’m really excited to have people hear what we come up with.”
Walden himself says, “It’s my honor to work with Jenn on this new EP and I can’t wait for everyone to hear her jazzy touch on ‘Smoky Nights.’ I know it’s a musical style that’s been living in her heart and soul for some time now. I call it, ‘something for the tender in you!’”
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