BEAUTIFUL - Louise Clare Marshall, Loula Records, Out Now
It took seven years for Louise Clare Marshall to turn her attention to following up the surprisingly addictive debut album Wait For You.
More personal and family-influenced, Beautiful’s 14 songs shows a more bolder, braver and confident jazz diva at work.
Eleven of the songs are written by Louise herself, starting with the opening all-girls acapella It’s a Little Bit Ridiculous which gives little away as to what follows.
But then I Need Ya catapults Louise into the face of her audience, as if to say “I’m back”.
Things slow down with the album’s title track as Beautiful teases listeners with traces of Destiny’s Child.
Louise’s jazz influences are most prominent on You Are The One, First Thing in the Morning and Love Dance which manages to add a touch of blues with calypso.
But most followers of Louise’s career will buy the album for Jools Holland’s Valentine Moon and a reggae version of Diana Ross’s Chain Reaction.
The album’s highlight though is Feels Like I’m In Love which mixes Gloria Estefan’s Anything For You with Champaign’s How ‘Bout Us.
Beautiful is some achievement for a singer refreshed after a seven-year break.
Review by Winston Brown