Review: Ledisi, ‘Turn Me Loose’

Ledisi, ‘Turn Me Loose’: Aidin Vaziri | Ledisi has had a long, wildly varied career that has involved everything from performing in “Beach Blanket Babylon” five nights a week to singing alongside Stevie Wonder at a PBS television tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. It all came to a head following the release of 2007’s “Lost and Found,” her first for Verve, which earned the Oakland singer two Grammy Award nominations for best new artist and best R&B album. Now Ledisi is primed for bigger things. With production assistance by the likes of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq and Rex Rideout, “Turn Me Loose” is livelier and more modern sounding than anything she’s done before, particularly on genre-straddling tracks like “Please Stay” and “I Need Love.” But it’s her clear vocals, glass-shattering high notes and life-affirming melodies that remain the main attraction, revealing the kind of substance and unfettered spirit of Mary J. Blige at her battle-scarred best.

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