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Andy James | “Let Me See Your Heart”

Entrancing Vocalist Andy James Asks,

Let Me See Your Heart on Her Sumptuous New Album for Le Coq Records

Available June 7 on All Streaming Platforms and CD Will be for Sale Exclusively Through Bandcamp

Available on CD Worldwide on July 5

All-Star Line-Up Includes John Patitucci, Alex Acuña,

John Beasley, Jon Cowherd, Nate Smith, Chico Pinheiro, Ronnie Foster, John Ellis and Others

The title of vocalist Andy James’ latest album is stated as a request, but one listen to Let Me See Your Heart and it becomes clear that James is simply hoping that her audience will reciprocate what she’s already offered. On her most open and vulnerable recording to date, James reveals her heart and soul with each lyric.

Due out June 7 from Le Coq Records, the label that James co-founded with her husband, producer, and co-songwriter Piero PataLet Me See Your Heart is graced by the ever-expanding stable of stellar musicians that the imprint has become known for. The all-star ensemble for this date includes percussionist Alex Acuña, bassists John Patitucci, James Genus and Eric Wheeler, pianist Jon Cowherd, keyboardist John Beasley, organist Ronnie Foster, trumpeter Terell Stafford, saxophonists Joel Frahm and John Ellis, flutist Bob Sheppard, trombonist Michael Dease, guitarists Chico Pinheiro, Steve Cardenas, Larry Koonse and Paul Jackson Jr., and drummers Nate Smith, Clarence Penn, Rudy Royston and Johnathan Blake, with arrangements provided by Cowherd and Bill Cunliffe.

The line-up of musicians who breathe life into this music – in the process, showing us their own individual and collective hearts – comprises a who’s who of modern jazz greats. They have also become near and dear to the hearts of James and Pata, and integral to the unified and brilliant sound of Le Coq Records.

“The musicians we’ve assembled at Le Coq over the years have really become sort of a family,” James says. “They understand what I want when I compose, to the point that it’s become instinctual.”

The album opens with a funky twist on the Dave Brubeck classic “Take Five,” penned by Paul Desmond with lyrics by Carmen McRae, its famous 5/4 tempo given a sleek contouring reminiscent of Steely Dan. Despite the set’s introspective themes, James made sure to include several more upbeat numbers to showcase the breadth of her influences as well as the many shapes that these feelings of love and loss can assume.

I gave careful consideration to the more uptempo songs on the album,” she explains. “I felt the record needed those numbers because I found it oh, so very tempting to just compile beautiful, somber songs to stick to my melancholy sentiments.”

In addition to “Take Five,” James also selected Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” a wistful ode to a city that the singer has always adored and to which she paid tribute on her 2022 album Rhythm in New York; and gives an urgent, insistent read of the standard “All or Nothing at All” in Cowherd’s briskly swinging arrangement.

There is no shortage of ballads on the album, however. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Bali Hai,” from South Pacific, finds James pining for another far-off island – a tropical one this time, rather than the urban jungle of Manhattan. It opens as a tender duet with Cowherd before Acuña’s shimmering percussion ushers in the band and its gently rocking rhythm suggesting gently lapping waves.

An expanded ensemble – highlighted by Bob Sheppard’s alto flute and the guitars of Larry Koonse and Steve Cardenas – gives a lush, dreamlike atmosphere to “Photograph,” best known for Sarah Vaughan’s version. Regret tinges the last-call desolation of “For Every Man There’s a Woman,” while Cowherd gives a stark, minimal framing to the timeless lament “Danny Boy.” John Ellis’ bass clarinet summons a low, moaning mournfulness for Michel Legrand’s “I Was Born in Love with You;” the same composer, along with lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman, was also responsible for “I Will Say Goodbye,” which closes the album on a valedictory note.

In addition to these favorites, James contributes three originals to the session. The title track, written with Pata, Cunliffe and James, features Ronnie Foster’s B3 weaving blues filigrees around James’ entreating melodies, while “Let’s Try” brings back Ellis’ bass clarinet for a searching call and response with the vocalist. “Let’s Talk of Love” brims with a breezy optimism, buoyant with an old-fashioned swing made weightless by Royston’s elegant touch.

Let Me See Your Heart was a thought I had often in my mind,” James says. “I wanted a way to express my feelings with everyone, especially in these troubled times we all find ourselves in.”

This captivating collection is perfectly crafted to offer a balm for troubled spirits. James’ smoky, enrapturing voice is a direct conduit for the emotion of a song, free of extraneous adornments. Another way of reading the album’s title is as James’ approach to her material; she delves deep into a lyric in search of its expressive heart, exposing its deepest meanings to those of us listening in.

“The songs on this album are all closely felt in my thoughts these days,” she says. “I wanted to convey to everyone who likes my work that love can be lost and then found once again, no matter what passes in life. Whether in my writing or in choosing covers, I hoped people will feel what I felt when I connected with these songs.”

Andy James “Take Five” (feat. Nate Smith, John Patitucci, John Beasly, Alex Acuña, Chico Pinheiro)

Andy James • Let Me See Your Heart

Le Coq Records • Digital Release Date: June 7, 2024; CD Release Date: July 5, 2024

Recorded at Studio A, Las Vegas, and at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles

Produced by Piero J. Pata and Andy James

Le Coq Records

Piero J Pata • President & Co-Founder

Andy James • Co-Founder

Josh Connolly • President of Artists and Repertoire

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