Two years ago, Allison Adams Tucker made April In Paris, showcasing a gift for languages and exotic musical styles found all over the world. She recorded her June 3, 2014, sophomore release in Paris with arrangements by Jovino Santos Neto, Kamau Kenyatta, Emmanuel Massarotti, and Danny Green.
On Aug. 19, she will continue the lively musical travelogue on WANDERlust with her longtime L.A. pianist Josh Nelson, New York cats like bassist Scott Colley, drummer Antonio Sánchez, and saxophonist Chris Potter, and featuring Brazilian musicians - percussionist Rogério Boccato and guitarist Romero Lubambo - and French guitarist Stéphane Wrembel. They recorded this one in New York City with award-winning producer Matt Pierson (Jane Monheit, Joshua Redman).
Just as on April In Paris, Tucker dips into her translator, performing delightful covers in six languages and several multi-cultural styles: a samba version of "When In Rome (I Do As The Romans Do," a tango in "Vuelvo Al Sur," the Brazilian breeze of Jobim's "Águas de Março," "Pure Imagination" from the candy movie, "Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory," Christina Perri's ode to vampires, "A Thousand Years," and Björk's crazy electronica hit, "Wanderlust," done in a circular horn-and-percussive frenzy, Tucker's voice maintaining her usual lofty, airy vantage point.
The drumming is fantastic here, picking up the best beats under Björk's 2008 original, as is Tucker's ethereal sonnets - sweeping the dust behind her.
Boccato, Lubambo, and Wrembel's exotic touches lend authenticity to the travel part of WANDERlust, as well as the stylistic depth.
The hard-hitting line-up is quite evident in this third album of hers, pushing her toward the challenging goal of melding stylistic and technical advances with her vocal prowess. Allison Adams Tucker's one gift in this project is keeping that crystalline voice intact as formidable jazz musicians work their magic spells on some time-defying style mixes. These are lofty sidemen with quality pedigrees.
Remember, Antonio Sanchez won a Grammy in February for his singular soundtrack on the Oscar-winning "Birdman." He's out on tour now with his own Migration band and his own lovely vocalist wife Thana Alexa - recently named a "Rising Star" in the initial Critics Poll list of DownBeat Magazine.
Another fantastic jazz conceptualist, Josh Nelson's out with the next, critically acclaimed immersive act in his Discovery Project, "The Sky Remains," a multi-media exploration of "The Past, Present and Future of Los Angeles." His next show is at Pasadena's Boston Court 8 p.m. July 16. Before the actual show, guests have a chance to go on a bike tour of Pasadena for the full effect.
The collision of their lofty concepts and Tucker's lofty ideals in that lyrical, angelic voice produced quite a compatible combination.
"I'm fascinated with foreign cultures and languages, foreign communities and foreign ways of thinking," the San Diego-based singer explained in a press release from DL Media. "WANDERlust is all about the longing to experience things outside your own backyard. Music can open you up to a culture in an authentic way; it's usually the thing that connects me with people."
The blonde, blue-eyed beauty from near San Diego grew up surrounded with a healthy appreciation for the outside world. A Spanish children's book in kindergarten sparked her own wanderlust. "It was an epiphany for a five-year-old child that there was another world out there that was very different than mine and had all these different ways to communicate," she continued.
Spanish lessons quickly followed, taking hold throughout her studies in an Indiana college. Naturally, she majored in linguistics while chasing her dreams as a vocalist and traveling to far-off lands. She went to Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, lived in Japan and Spain, for starters.
"I got bitten by the travel bug and wanted to see as much of the world as I could. I decided to bring into my repertoire all of the music that I'd learned on my travels and start exploring other cultures of music, and I've been building on it since."