Possessing one of the most instantly recognisable voices in music, Macy Gray has veered into unfamiliar waters for her upcoming ‘Stripped’ album, out on September 9th via Chesky Records. Bringing in some of the best jazz sidemen money can buy in drummer Ari Hoenig (Joshua Redman), trumpeter Wallace Roney (Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis), guitarist Russell Malone (Diana Krall), and bassist Daryl Johns, Gray decamped to a decommissioned Brooklyn church armed with one binaural microphone, two days and no overdubs.
What resulted was ‘Stripped’, an album of new tunes, intriguing covers and old favourites (I try amongst them) reimagined or maybe reborn as jazz standards. She’s just released one of those covers, Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters. Sounding beautiful in the surroundings, you can hear the clicks on the bass strings, and the brushes on the side drum as it shuffles and dances sedately onwards. Over the top is ‘that’ voice, which was always (at least on the evidence of this) destined to be comfortable and (probably more importantly) authentic within Jazz.
It’s so authentic, you can almost smell the tobacco stained late night club. Brilliant stuff.
Stripped is out on September 9th via Chesky Records