Ann Hampton Callaway, a luminary in both pop and jazz, has graced the world with her mesmerizing artistry through her latest album, “Finding Beauty, Originals Vol. 1.” This album is a milestone, as it represents her first foray into a collection of entirely original songs. Callaway’s influence in the music industry is extensive, as she wears multiple hats as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, and TV host, showcasing her exceptional artistic versatility.
“Finding Beauty, Originals Vol. 1” is the culmination of a deeply personal journey. While Callaway has an illustrious history of interpreting jazz classics and the Great American Songbook, this album opens a window into her inner world as a songwriter. Her decision to craft an album of original songs arises from a desire to share her own story and the profound depths of her being. She aspires to connect with her audience on a human level through her art, a goal she achieves with exceptional finesse.
Over the years, Callaway’s songwriting prowess has earned recognition from industry giants like Carole King, Patti Lupone, Liza Minnelli, Karrin Allyson, and Michael Feinstein. Notably, her work has found a prominent place in Barbara Streisand’s discography, featuring on seven of her albums.
In “Finding Beauty,” an album filled with sensational compositions, Callaway collaborates with a constellation of outstanding artists. These luminaries include Melissa Manchester, Tierney Sutton, Kurt Elling, Niki Haris, Jarrett Johnson, and Liz Callaway, her own sister. Each guest artist adds a unique touch, resulting in a rich tapestry of sound that transcends genres.
The first song and the title track of the album, “Finding Beauty,” takes listeners on an emotional journey, exploring themes of love, human rights, and sensuality. The poignant “At the Same Time” conveys a sense of urgency, serving as a timely reminder of the ongoing global struggles. It’s a haunting masterpiece, reimagined to resonate with the current times.
“Love and Let Love,” a captivating pop/R&B track, stands as a pride and human rights anthem, instilling a sense of unity and acceptance. The lively and funky rendition with Kurt Elling is an exhilarating experience, where Callaway envisions a multitude of voices harmonizing in celebration of individuality.
“Stealin’ Away” is a sensuous ode to romantic love, with Callaway’s sultry performance immersing listeners in a world of passion and intimacy. “You Can’t Rush Spring,” a duet with Tierney Sutton, weaves a magical blend of two voices, creating a cinematic beauty.
The bossa nova-infused “Forever and a Day” envelops the listener, with lyrics and melody co-authored by the iconic multi-Oscar-winning composer Alan Bergman. This song beautifully embodies the friendship between Callaway and Bergman.
Throughout this enchanting album, Ann Callaway’s exceptional musicians shine, breathing life into her compositions. Pianist Christian Jacob and drummer Ray Brinker, long-time collaborators, join forces with pianist Josh Nelson in a musical partnership that elevates the album. The production and arrangements by Trey Henry and Paul Viapiano mark a bold artistic step, adding depth and brilliance to Callaway’s creations.
“Finding Beauty, Originals Vol. 1” invites us into the soul of Ann Hampton Callaway, embarking on an intimate exploration of her artistry. This album is a testament to her musical genius and a tribute to her unyielding spirit. It stands as a masterpiece that encapsulates the essence of the human experience, encouraging us to embrace life’s myriad emotions and savor the beauty found within its profound complexities. With this release, Ann Callaway reaffirms her position as a radiant star in the ever-evolving constellation of American music.