Louise Cappi, “Mélange” (Independent)

louise cappiWhile straightforward and not breaking any new ground, Louise Cappi’s Mélange covers a lot of musical styles familiar to New Orleanians. Eclectic in both genre and repertoire, she touches on Latin music by way of Afro-Cuban and bossa nova, rock, funk, swing and ballads, while never straying far from the blues. Her voice is quite raw, and one appreciates the effort placed on emphasizing its natural character rather than capitalizing on mediating it through studio magic and Auto-Tune. She sticks mostly to her comfortable middle register, making her brief forays into her upper range contain much of the emotional impact, especially when she allows brief distortive growls to add color to vocal climaxes.

The inclusion of a few medleys helps maintain interest. The caliber of the musicians is quite high, and their solos and driving rhythms are often what propel these tracks forward. Jenna McSwain in particular shines as a sensitive piano accompanist and the arranger of the handful of originals. While the energy of this album is relatively static, one can have a satisfying listening experience when framing it as an eclectic blues release.