Even at a time when artists can release their material without major label machinery behind them, it’s rare for them to bless their fans with two major works in a single year. Bilingual, multi-cultural, New York and Miami based rising jazz star Lauren Henderson is the glorious exception. Just a few months after the enormously gifted, melodically and rhythmically eclectic vocalist brought her zesty gumbo of jazz, soul, Latin and world music to her critically acclaimed full length album Armame, she’s back to share new and inspired shards of her topsy-turvy heart.
In only six songs and 23 minutes, the running time of her new EP Riptide, she taps into a wild swirl of her influences to capture a richly detailed narrative about a love that had promise but was ultimately not to be. She spotlights the ascending hopes (the Latin spiced romp “Amame”); the emotional tug of blooming love (the heartbeat driven “Riptide”); the awkward acknowledgement of falling short (the hushed, moody “Separate”); a semi-optimistic spin on the aftermath (the trippy, exotic-hypnotic “Bajito”); the boredom and sadness of waiting in vain for a turnaround (the torchy “Ennui”); and the liberation of finally letting go (the spritely, Latin tinged “Slow Control”).
Fans will no doubt venture a guess as to why Lauren got this powerful yet compact effort out so quickly. My money is on her need to reflect an experience so deep, raw and in the moment that it poured out to quickly to keep simmering. All told, Riptide is a remarkable journey from an incredibly intriguing, multi-faceted artist.