Jazz Life Magazine (Japan)

歌手兼サックス奏者、ローレン・メッチヤのデビュー・アルバム。プロデューサー兼ベース奏者のマイク・フロストをバックに、ピアノには、ロン・カーター(b)トリオで知られる中米ニカラグァ出身のドナルド・ヴェガが参加し、興味をそそる。ヴェガは、本作でも伴奏や2曲提供したオリジナル曲に才能を発揮している。ローレンのヴォーカルは、ソプラノ・サックスを思わせる伸びやかな声質、スキャットによるアドリブも随所で披露。「ハウ・ハイ・ザ・ムーン」の中間部では、チャーリー・パーカーの「オーナソロジー」を彼女の作詞で歌い面白い。(小川浩)

This is singer-saxophonist Lauren Meccia’s debut album. In addition to producer-bassist Mike Frost, she is backed by attention-grabbing Donald Vega, a Nicaraguan pianist known for his work with the Ron Carter Trio. Vega’s talent is unleashed here with his accompaniment and two original pieces. This album showcases throughout Lauren’s soprano sax-like unconstrained voice and adlibbed scatting. In the middle of How High the Moon, Lauren sings her delightful original lyrics sung to Charlie Parker’s rendition of Ornithology. (by Hiroshi Ogawa)

-- Published in Japan in Jazz Life magazine, March 2015 edition, page 89.

[Translated by Joey Steel.]

JazzWeekly.com

First, my pet peeve about female vocalists: most of them sound like past their prime princesses who are giving one last shot at doing something with their lives, or are relying on their,ahem, other resources to get their music out. The reason I’m putting this out up front is because Lauren Meccia comes across here like a real musician who happens to sing. Why?

Good question! Well, along with singing, she plays the soprano, tenor and alto saxes, and does so very well on the longing and thoughtful “Atlantis” which has her soprano meld gloriously with some strings, as well showing some optimistic alto on a lovely “What the World Needs Now.” And, because of her wonderful sound on the horn, you can tell that she’s  practiced long tones until she’s blue in the face, because as a vocalist she has a crystal clear sound that rings like a bell, and can effortlessly go for drawing out a lyric as on “Inside Your Eyes” and yet she can also clip out a series of words like she’s jumping through an obstacle course as on the peppy “How High the Moon” or the sizzling “One Note Samba.” Her voice resonates like a glass organ on the luminescent “You Don’t Know What Love Is.”

She also shows some talent in composing, as she teams with the adroitly fingered pianist Donald Vega for many of the tunes. Vega is simply majesterial here, with a playful support and solo on “Cheek to Cheek” as well as a lovely duet with Meccia on “Over the Rainbow.” Producer and bassist Mike Frost provides supple and sensitive support throughout, particularly on a palpable “The Look of Love” while Brian Czach/dr and  Edwin Hamilton/perc   fill up most of the rhythm duties, along with a handful of guests. This is an impressive lady, and it should be great to see what she can do in a concert setting. Bring it on!

LAJazz.com: Dee Dee's Jazz Diary

She's smooth, sultry, pitch perfect and enjoyable. From the very first cut of "Butterfly", familiar to my ears from Herbie Hancock's album of the '70s, Lauren Meccia captured my attention. Originally, Kimiko Kasal, a Japanese jazz vocalist, sang the lyrics penned by Hancock's wife, Jean. More recently, I enjoyed Gretchen Parlato's version of this song. Lauren Meccia appropriately applies her talents and style in her own, unique way. Also impressive is the superb trio who supports her. Part of the excitement on this first tune was the amazing piano brilliance of Donald Vega, who had the arrangement sounding like the fluttering wings of a butterfly. On the title tune, "Inside Your Eyes," Meccia establishes herself as a vocalist who takes melody very seriously and isn't afraid to challenge herself to sing odd intervals and tackle progressions and key changes with finesse and charm. She has collaborated on this composition, co-writing it with her pianist, (Vega) who also shares composer credits on "If You Can Fly;" an equally well-written composition with strong lyrics. Meccia is multi-talented, playing saxophone on this tune as well as vocalizing. Mike Frost is the expressive basement of the trio, solidifying the 'swing' and staunchly supporting the groove on his bass instrument. As a composer, he has contributed "Atlantis," co-written with Wayne Morrison. The drummers bounce around on various tracks, various musicians performing on different sessions. They are all good players and I've listed their names above. This is a surprise package of fresh new jazz songs, a new voice to entertain jazz fans and arrangements that are well-written and well-produced.

BlogCritics.org

Although an accomplished saxophonist, Lauren Meccia seems to limit her instrumental participation on Inside Your Eyes in favor of her prowess as a vocalist. While her vocals are winning, the one extensive sample of her work on the sax in “Atlantis” – an instrumental original from the album’s bassist Mike Frost – is enough to whet appetites for more. The bulk of the dynamic solo work on the album is in the able fingers of pianist Donald Vega.

Meccia is equally at home scatting through a speedy “How High the Moon” (spiced with lyrics from the Charlie Parker contrafact “Ornithology” often rendered in vocalese by jazz singers), a hauntingly exotic rendition of “The Look of Love,” and a sexy “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Besides standards like “Cheek to Cheek,” “Over the Rainbow,” and a witty take on “One Note Samba,” the set includes two original tracks from Vega—the title song and “If You Can Fly.”

Inside Your Eyes is scheduled for release January 6, 2015.

Michael Doherty's Music Log

Lauren Meccia’s new album, Inside Your Eyes, features some wonderful and interesting renditions of familiar standards, while also including original material. In addition to providing excellent jazz vocals, Lauren Meccia plays saxophone. Joining her on this release are Donald Vega on piano (whom you might know from the Ron Carter Trio) and Mike Frost on bass, both of whom contribute compositions as well. Brian Czach is on drums and percussion for all but one track on this release.

Inside Your Eyes opens with a sweet, mellow rendition of Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly,” with lyrics written by his sister, Jean Hancock. There is some really nice work by both Mike Frost on bass and Donald Vega on piano, particularly in the instrumental section partway through the track, but it is Lauren Meccia’s impressive vocals that are the focus here. She can be smooth, but also find moments to really soar. Jeremy Roberson plays drums and John Miceli plays percussion on this track.

“Butterfly” is followed by “Inside Your Eyes,” the album’s title track, an original song with lyrics by Lauren Meccia and music composed by Donald Vega. There is something really pretty about Lauren’s vocal delivery on this track. “You might think I’m not for you/Afraid of what I might do/But the truth is not disguised/Inside your eyes.” There is also a really delicious lead spot on piano. This album also features “If You Can Fly,” another original composition by Lauren Meccia and Donald Vega. I love the relaxed vibe of this track. “So come with me and take my hand/And leave illusions all behind/And if you want to find your truth/Retreat, go deep within your mind.” And then the song builds to a really good jam toward the end.

Lauren Meccia does a fun, groovy version of “How High The Moon.” And vocally she is clearly having a fantastic time, totally delighting in the scat section in particular. And for me it’s her sense of joy that makes this a stand-out track. Though this one also features some excellent work by Donald Vega and Mike Frost. “How High The Moon” was written by Morgan Lewis and Nancy Hamilton, and has been covered by Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, among others. Lauren Meccia’s version includes some added lyrics that she composed. There is also a wonderful version of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek To Cheek,” which features some excellent work by Mike Frost on bass. I also love what Lauren does vocally on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba.”

Lauren Meccia gives us an interesting rendition of “What The World Needs Now,” opening it with the chorus on saxophone.  The song then takes on a Latin feel for its instrumental section at the end, and this is what makes it really interesting for me. I do I wish that section would last a bit longer. The song fades out when it feels like it’s really just getting going. Edwin Hamilton is on percussion on this track.

“Atlantis” is the one instrumental track on this release, and is also the one track composed by bassist Mike Frost. Lauren Meccia's excellent work on saxophone is at the center of this track, but the group is also joined by Sarah Land on violin and Ryan Knott on cello for this one. And Donald Vega has plenty of opportunity to shine here.

Inside Your Eyes concludes with Lauren Meccia's beautiful take on “Over The Rainbow,” her vocals accompanied by delicate and sweet work on piano by Donald Vega. This is a really good rendition.

JazzQuad (Russia)

При всей неиссякаемости потока дебютанток-вокалисток в джазе, американка Лорин Меккиа имеет все шансы запомниться слушателю своим первым альбомом Inside Your Eyes. Дело, конечно, не только в том, что Лорин еще и написала тексты для нескольких композиций или, что помимо пения она еще и играет на саксофоне – как инструменталистка, она, положа руку на сердце, не Сонни Роллинс и даже не Кенни Джи, хотя ее саунд по характеру звучания явно ближе к последнему. Просто альбом у нее получился из тех, которые не закидываешь на самую дальнюю полку сразу же после прослушивания. Inside Your Eyes хочется слушать еще, и «виной» тому прежде всего сам голос Лорин – хрустально-чистый по звучанию и очень точный по интонированию. Кроме того, она здорово владеет и техникой скэта – послушайте, к примеру, How High The Moon или One Note Samba..

Впрочем, это я забежал вперед. Сначала стоит поговорить о программе альбома в целом. Она представляет собой амальгаму из классических джазовых стандартов, авторских композиций участников проекта, просто обязательной в последние годы для очень многих хотя бы одной босса-новы (вышеупомянутая One Note Samba Жобима), а открывает альбом композиция Херби Хэнкока Butterfly с текстом, который сочинила его родная сестра Джин. В общем, подход к формированию программы достаточно распространенный, так что весь возможный успех альбома можно отнести на счет его создателей.

Главными партнерами Лорин Меккиа в этом проекте выступили пианист Дональд Вега и басист Майк Фрост.- именно их имена вместе с именем Лорин помещены на обложку альбома. Майк Фрост – опытнейший музыкант, со-продюсер (вместе с Лорин Меккиа) этого проекта, а также владелец издавщего Inside Your Eyes лейбла Spirit Music. Он сочинил единственную на диске чисто инструментальную пьесу Atlantis. Дональд Вега – наверное, самый заметный, наряду с Меккиа, участник состава, а заодно и самый известный. Уроженец Никарагуа, Дональд постигал уроки игры на фортепьяно у самого Кенни Бэрона и играет у самого Рона Картера в ансамбле Golden Striker Trio. Класс этого исполнителя дает о себе знать уже в стартовом треке Butterfly и Дональд, что называется, «держит планку» до последнего такта финишной пьесы Over The Rainbow. В содружестве с Меккиа он написал для альбома две композиции: титульную и If You Can Fly. Почти во всех треках кроме одного отыграл барабанщик Брайан Чах, а в записи диска участвовало еще несколько ударников, а также струнная группа в той самой чисто инструментальной пьесе Фроста Atlantis.

Понравился альбом в целом и композиция Ирвина Берлина Cheek To Cheek в частности – я бы назвал ее лучшей на диске. А перед главным героем этого проекта – молодой и по-хорошему амбициозной Лорин Меккиа – стоит теперь извечная «проблема второго альбома». Мне почему-то думается, что все у нее получится.

http://jazzquad.ru/index.pl?act=PRODUCT&id=4020При всей неиссякаемости потока дебютанток-вокалисток в джазе, американка Лорин Меккиа имеет все шансы запомниться слушателю своим первым альбомом Inside Your Eyes. Дело, конечно, не только в том, что Лорин еще и написала тексты для нескольких композиций или, что помимо пения она еще и играет на саксофоне – как инструменталистка, она, положа руку на сердце, не Сонни Роллинс и даже не Кенни Джи, хотя ее саунд по характеру звучания явно ближе к последнему. Просто альбом у нее получился из тех, которые не закидываешь на самую дальнюю полку сразу же после прослушивания. Inside Your Eyes хочется слушать еще, и «виной» тому прежде всего сам голос Лорин – хрустально-чистый по звучанию и очень точный по интонированию. Кроме того, она здорово владеет и техникой скэта – послушайте, к примеру, How High The Moon или One Note Samba.. http://jazzquad.ru/index.pl?act=PRODUCT&id=4020

При всей неиссякаемости потока дебютанток-вокалисток в джазе, американка Лорин Меккиа имеет все шансы запомниться слушателю своим первым альбомом Inside Your Eyes. Дело, конечно, не только в том, что Лорин еще и написала тексты для нескольких композиций или, что помимо пения она еще и играет на саксофоне – как инструменталистка, она, положа руку на сердце, не Сонни Роллинс и даже не Кенни Джи, хотя ее саунд по характеру звучания явно ближе к последнему. Просто альбом у нее получился из тех, которые не закидываешь на самую дальнюю полку сразу же после прослушивания. Inside Your Eyes хочется слушать еще, и «виной» тому прежде всего сам голос Лорин – хрустально-чистый по звучанию и очень точный по интонированию. Кроме того, она здорово владеет и техникой скэта – послушайте, к примеру, How High The Moon или One Note Samba..

 

Впрочем, это я забежал вперед. Сначала стоит поговорить о программе альбома в целом. Она представляет собой амальгаму из классических джазовых стандартов, авторских композиций участников проекта, просто обязательной в последние годы для очень многих хотя бы одной босса-новы (вышеупомянутая One Note Samba Жобима), а открывает альбом композиция Херби Хэнкока Butterfly с текстом, который сочинила его родная сестра Джин. В общем, подход к формированию программы достаточно распространенный, так что весь возможный успех альбома можно отнести на счет его создателей.

 

Главными партнерами Лорин Меккиа в этом проекте выступили пианист Дональд Вега и басист Майк Фрост.- именно их имена вместе с именем Лорин помещены на обложку альбома. Майк Фрост – опытнейший музыкант, со-продюсер (вместе с Лорин Меккиа) этого проекта, а также владелец издавщего Inside Your Eyes лейбла Spirit Music. Он сочинил единственную на диске чисто инструментальную пьесу Atlantis. Дональд Вега – наверное, самый заметный, наряду с Меккиа, участник состава, а заодно и самый известный. Уроженец Никарагуа, Дональд постигал уроки игры на фортепьяно у самого Кенни Бэрона и играет у самого Рона Картера в ансамбле Golden Striker Trio. Класс этого исполнителя дает о себе знать уже в стартовом треке Butterfly и Дональд, что называется, «держит планку» до последнего такта финишной пьесы Over The Rainbow. В содружестве с Меккиа он написал для альбома две композиции: титульную и If You Can Fly. Почти во всех треках кроме одного отыграл барабанщик Брайан Чах, а в записи диска участвовало еще несколько ударников, а также струнная группа в той самой чисто инструментальной пьесе Фроста Atlantis.

 

Понравился альбом в целом и композиция Ирвина Берлина Cheek To Cheek в частности – я бы назвал ее лучшей на диске. А перед главным героем этого проекта – молодой и по-хорошему амбициозной Лорин Меккиа – стоит теперь извечная «проблема второго альбома». Мне почему-то думается, что все у нее получится.

Music Zoom (Italy)

Lauren Meccia è una cantante e sassofonista americana dalla voce di velluto di cui qui fa sfoggio su una serie di standards ed alcuni brani scritti da lei stessa. Ha un bel trio a disposizione, il pianista Donald Vega (di solito con il trio del grande contrabbassista Ron Carter), Mike Frost al basso elettrico ed il batterista Brian Czach che si trova su tutti i brani tranne che su Butterfly, dove è sostituitoo da Jeremy Robertson.
La voce della leader è molto bella, curata, melliflua, raffinata, fra Norah Jones e le jazziste più conosciute, in grado di dare swing ai versi o di utilizzare intonazioni più legate alla musica pop e di usare sia i registri acuto che grave con facilità dando ogni volta da un brano all´altro qualcosa di colloquiale, rilassante, di levare, anche quando va veloce su How High the Moon in cui cita un classico del bebop come Ornitology, qualunque senso di fretta o di nevrosi dalle esecuzioni. Al sassofono, quando lo usa, ha un´impronta smooth, un po alla David Sanborn. Con Mike Frost, il cui basso elettrico fretless a cinque corde dà un suono particolare al disco e con Donald Vega la collaborazione è stata spontanea, perfetta, un incontro che ha datto modo all´intera band di costruire un suono tutto loro, a metà fra smooth, poco, tanto jazz e qualcosa di pop. Lo si vede anche dagli standard scelti, ad esempio ci sono due brani di Bart Bacharach, The Look of Love e What the World Needs Now, ma anche degli standards del jazz molto famosi, Cheek to Cheek e You Don´t Know What Love is, ma c´è anche I Can´t Make You Love Me, un brano gia interpretato da Bonnie Raitt, George Michael, Adele. Il finale Over the Raibow, un altro famoso standard, è eseguito in duo insieme al pianista. È un bel disco, fatto da ottimi interpreti e la giusta scelta dei brani, adatti alla voce di Lauren Meccia, una cantante che sa come catturare l´attenzione su ogni verso che pronuncia.

Augusta Chronicle

As a musician and a columnist, I never cease to be amazed at just how much astounding talent there is in our part of the world.

Lauren Meccia's new album Inside Your Eyes includes standards and original tunes. She's backed by Mike Frost and Donald Vega.

From Sharon Jones to the recently returned Wycliffe Gordon, it just seems that recently more and more local musicians are drawing rave notices from all over the world.

You can now add Aiken’s Lauren Meccia to that esteemed group. Her new album, Inside Your Eyes, is chock full of great musicianship and singing. It flows as sweetly as the Savannah as the numbers reflect her many vocal influences that include Eva Cassidy, Norah Jones and Ella Fitzgerald.

Inside Your Eyes features standards such as Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek; Jobim’s One Note Samba; and two sublime Bacharach and David numbers, The Look of Love and What the World Needs Now.

There’s also a couple of fine originals, including the delightful title track that was written by Meccia and pianist extraordinaire and Ron Carter Band member Donald Vega.

Vega’s sensitive virtuosity is straight from the Oscar Peterson/Bill Evans “playbook of smooth.” His fine work on the keys also reminds me of Michael Omartian’s melodic work on my favorite Steely Dan album Aja.

Meccia, who is also the director of jazz ensembles at the University of South Carolina Aiken, is not just a terrific singer but also an extremely gifted saxophonist.

However, it’s her sensuous vocal stylings, which have been described as being “like medicine,” that jumps to the fore on this outing.

Although the album is billed as a solo release, it’s actually a group of musicians who perform often in the Aiken area as The Mike Frost Band. The foursome plays at numerous Aiken venues, including The Red Pepper and the Aiken Speakeasy and Eats.

Frost, who moved down South from his native New York to work with the legendary Jesse Colin Young, first worked with Meccia when she was strictly an instrumentalist.

“When she first joined the group, I had never heard her sing,” Frost said. “One evening, someone made a request for Bye Bye Blackbird and Lauren said she could sing it. She did, and I was blown away!”

Meccia was equally enamored with the Frost trio. “When I first heard them play, I felt that I had to be in a jazz club in New York, not South Carolina!”

Frost is wise in shifting the focus to Meccia, who commands your attention whether it’s on stage or part of a recording. Says the bassist, “As soon as I heard her sing, I started to change all of the band’s arrangements to feature her voice.”

Inside Your Eyes is one of those rare recordings that begs for future listens. When the disc gently concludes with Meccia’s nod to Eva Cassidy on Harold Arlen’s Over the Rainbow, it makes you wish there was more. Isn’t that what a great work is all about? Yes!

You can order the disc as well as several earlier Meccia/Frost offerings (including CD and DVD versions of their marvelous Live at the Red Pepper set) at mikefrostband.com or laurenmeccia.com or at their shows.

AXS.com

For a fresh face in jazz, vocalist Lauren Meccia certainly has a lot to say. She drapes herself all over 12 full-blown jazz standards in her new album, Inside Your Eyes.

Together with classically trained, Nicaraguan pianist Donald Vega, bassist first class Mike Frost, and sterling guest musicians, including cellist Ryan Knott, violinist Sarah Land, and percussionists Edwin Hamilton and John Miceli, the new, January 6, 2015 release offers a fresh take on standard jazz classics.

Not only is Meccia a luminous, honest vocalist, composer, and educator, but she handles sax as well as the next featured sideman on this record. Her voice, however, is the stand-out here.

The press on Meccia compares her to Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy, and even Ella Fitzgerald. But her vocals are too special to compare to anyone else. This young, bright star starts off her songs with a deep, lusty growl, as if challenging anyone to doubt her prowess and total lyrical domination.

Right from that start, she controls the full throttle, the steady movement, and the wind-up, whether it’s Jobim’s “One Note Samba,” “The Wizard Of Oz’s” “Over The Rainbow,” or Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s “What The World Needs Now.”

The emotional depth of that understanding is a little more elusive in her tender, loving care. On the original composition “If You Can Fly” by lyricist Meccia and musician Donald Vega, she’s a little more revealing in how she feels about the song. Her sensitive vulnerability as she literally falls in love with the sentiment each set of lyrics brings, while she’s singing, is a refreshing departure from the usual jaded approach of a veteran who’s seen too many after-hours clubs.

“If You Can Fly” and the title track — both sturdy originals — show off Meccia’s ability around compelling lyrics that favor her dulcet, wordless tones that tend to, well, rise and rise and rise, until her vocals are flying. That, coupled with Vega’s resplendent designer gown of a piano covering, raise this little album into one worth listening to.

The two of them are such a joy to listen to together, which can be rare in jazz circles. Traditionally, jazz musicians tend to put vocalists through their paces, demanding perfection before entry into the private club of acceptance. Vega and Meccia — perhaps because she’s automatically in the club as a good saxophonist who can hold her own — work well together, serving the totality of the lyrical music over any old fashioned notions of singers in their place.

When Vega goes on an instrumental toss and turn, you can almost picture Meccia closing her eyes and leaning back, enjoying the sonic view. And when it’s Meccia’s turn, Vega compliments her rise and fall as enthusiastically as a lover.

Lest anyone assume Inside Your Eyes is a puff piece for the beautiful, or — as Meccia sings in “One Note Samba,” “There's so many people who can talk and talk and talk and just say nothing” — this isn’t that kind of album.

Just check out the burning first track.

Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly” opens with Vega on piano going wild, threatening to flame out spectacularly, while Meccia calmly hums through the frenzy like a boss for a contrast that matters.