Lauren Henderson: Conjuring 

NYC-based singer shows her Latin American roots in music inspired by magic and expressed through standards and originals

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Although born in the USA, Lauren Henderson has Latin American roots and these find their flowering in her singing style and choice of material. Increasingly heard in and around New York City in the past few years, she is now extending her audience through recordings such as this, which appear on her own label, Brontosaurus Records.

With Conjuring, her tenth album, Henderson pursues an aspect of songwriting that clearly interests her and offers an unusual background for her audience. That aspect, which also she explored on 2022’s La Bruja, is magic and the songs selected here follow that theme. Some of them well known: That Old Black Magic (Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer), Day Dream (Billy Strayhorn & Duke Ellington) and I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet & Albert Beach & Léo Chauliac); Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn’s It’s Magic is sung here twice, the first time in Spanish as Es Magia.

The other five songs are originals, all by Henderson, and demonstrate her considerable talent as a songwriter. Her vocal sound is attractively warm and she has a subtle vibrato that is employed with care. Also used sparingly is multitracking that allows Henderson to enhance her solo singing. Her interpretation of lyrics displays a thorough understanding and also prompts listeners to venture into a world of mystery and intrigue.

Her accompanists here are all supportive and there are some attractive solos from vibraphonist Joel Ross and pianists John Chin and Sean Mason. Along with guitarists Gabe Schneider and Nick Tannura, bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Joe Dyson they provide excellent support throughout.

This album should have wide appeal, extending as it does through jazz and several forms of Latin American music. Warmly recommended.

Discography
Spells; That Old Black Magic; Conjuring; Es Magia; Coercion; Day Dream; Potions; Amuleto; It’s Magic; I Wish You Love (44.46)
Henderson (v) with, collectively, Joel Ross (vib); Sean Mason, John Chin (p); Gabe Schneider, Nick Tannura (g); Eric Wheeler (b); Joe Dyson (d). NYC, 26, 27 January 2022.
Brontosaurus Records