Laila Biali - Your Requests
LAILA BIALI HONORS THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK WITH NEW ALBUM
For the first time in 10 years, multi-award-winning vocalist and pianist Laila Biali returns to jazz standards with an all-star lineup including Kurt Elling & Anat Cohen. Biali breathes new life into songs by Gershwin, Rodgers, Hammerstein and Hart, with her signature modernity and impeccable musicianship.
Release Date: May 26, 2023 (ACT Music, Empress Music Group, CORE PORT)
Highly acclaimed musician Laila Biali is a force on the jazz scene in her native Canada and beyond. The JUNO Award-winner’s distinctive voice is typically on dazzling display in her original music. Now, after ten years recording her own material, Biali turns her attention to the Great American Songbook with Your Requests, her ninth album as bandleader. While showcasing her own impressive skill set, Biali gathers longtime collaborators for the outing: drummers Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy) and Ben Wittman along with bassist George Koller and tenor saxophonist Kelly Jefferson.
The shift back to more classic jazz material was inspired by Biali’s delight in fulfilling the song requests of her fans. When she asked her social media followers what tunes they’d like to hear her cover, more than 150 songs were submitted. Your Requests debuts the first collection of Biali’s dynamic and personal arrangements in response to her listeners, a “musical love letter.”
“It's always a delicate balance preserving key elements of the original versions of these classic songs while moving them into new territory,” Biali says. “I liken the arranging process to a renovation. The foundation - the lyrics and melody - must remain intact, but there's lots of room for play.” And play she does. Biali tastefully puts her stamp on these songs without letting the musical reworking run amok, trading an expected swing feel for a more hard-driving straight-eighth groove and reharmonizing more typical chord progressions with thoughtful boldness.