2003 marked the music world’s introduction to Lizz Wright with the release of her first album entitled Salt. Reviewers and listeners confirmed that Wright was the next big jazz vocalist of note. But is it safe to call Wright a jazz singer? Probably not. Salt had a jazzy vibe, but also showcased Wright’s soul, gospel, folk, and blues leanings. Wright, like vocalists Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves, is likely to defy categorization. Salt was the perfect segway to Dreaming Wide Awake.
Dreaming is a great collection of songs, mostly guitar driven, with more of a folk and blues appeal. The sparse production of Craig Street puts Wright’s voice center stage. The listener cannot help but be mesmerized by her vocal storytelling. She gets inside of each and every song. Her vocalizing is sincere and honest, never showy or overdone. She breathes new life into such classics like Neil Young’s "Old Man" and Youngbloods’ "Get Together." Wright also leaves you wanting more with her originals like "Trouble" and the title track.
Regardless of what genre of music Wright is singing, nothing can take away from the soul, richness, resonance, and versatility of her voice. Dreaming may not be jazz, but it’s great music—period.