Embarking on a fresh new chapter in her life musically, emotionally and spiritually, Carol Albert builds upon the inspiring career-shifting momentum of her recent Billboard Top Ten chart successes with her perfectly titled new full-length album Stronger Now. Featuring all original songs written and arranged by the prolific composer and pianist, the stylistically eclectic, 10 track collection - follow up to her 2017 breakthrough album Fly Away Butterfly - is set for release on Cahara Records January 31, 2020. Stronger Now includes two tracks previously released as singles that lit up terrestrial, internet and satellite stations. The Atlanta based artist scored her biggest success to date early in 2019 with the Brazilian flavored "Femme Flight," which hit #4 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Songs chart. Produced by Carol, mixed by two-time Grammy winning hitmaker Paul Brown and featuring flutist Ragan Whiteside and saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova, the track also earned Albert a new legion of fans via airplay on SiriusXM's Watercolors. Also featured on Stronger Now is Carol's latest single "Sun's Out," a Latin tinged track produced and mixed by Brown that is currently in the Top Ten on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Songs chart as well as MediaBase, Smooth Jazz Top 20 at #5, Radiowave at #3 and GrooveJazz Chart at #2. Her earlier chart hits include "Chasing Waterfalls" (which reached #15), "Fly Away Butterfly" (#5) and "One Way."
Stronger Now is the first of Carol's albums to predominantly feature production by Brown, who has scored over 60 #1 chart smashes for genre greats Peter White, Larry Carlton, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove, the late Al Jarreau and many others. In addition to the five tracks he produced ("Stronger Now," "Love Again," "Perfect Sunday," "Sun's Out," "I Am Fine"), Carol helmed "For The Moment" (which features Brown on guitar), "Femme Flight" and "Moon on the Water" and co-produced (with Brown's longtime associate Lew Laing) "Winter Rain" and "'Til We Meet Again." Carol's infectious piano melodies take wing with some of contemporary urban jazz's top sidemen, including bassists Sam Sims, Roberto Vally and Joseph Patrick Moore and drummers L'il John Roberts, Gorden Campbell and Jay Williams. While most of the tracks were created digitally, with Carol recording in Atlanta and sending her foundational files to Brown at The Funky Joint in L.A. for him to build on, the songs featuring Sims and Roberts ("Love Again" and "Perfect Sunday") were cut live in Atlanta. Key contributions were also made by Ben Babylon (string and French horn arrangements), Lee Thornburg (horn arrangements, flugelhorn and valve trombone) and acoustic guitarist Daniel Baraszu. Another point of interest: Carol recorded her parts on "Femme Flight," "Love Again," Perfect Sunday" and "Moon on the Water" on a venerable piano that Elton John and many other legendary artists have played at Silent Sound Studio in Atlanta.
"I met Paul at a show he did in Atlanta through my friend, trumpeter Rob Zinn, and he said to give him a call when I started working on my new album," Carol says. "He took his incredible ear and years of experience working with all kinds of artists to make incredible suggestions, oversee and put everything together, mix it to perfection and truly elevate my work. I'm so impressed with the quality of these musicians and the way all the elements came together. I'm very proud of Stronger Now and think it is the best work of my career."
From the title track to "Love Again," from "For the Moment" to "I am Fine," "Moon on the Water" and "'Til We Meet Again," Stronger Now is thematically a reflection of the powerful emotional journey Carol has been on these past few years - and her ongoing resilience in the face of great loss. "My last album Fly Away Butterfly was written and recorded during a healing phase of my life after the sudden death of my husband," she says. "This new chapter in my life has been about making it on my own. I am happy to note that one friend who heard 'Femme Flight' said, 'I see your butterfly has morphed into another winged animal' in free flight. During this period of my life, I have learned to experience joy, laughter, happiness and love, as well as many moods of solitude and introspection."
1. Stronger Now 3:43
2. Love Again 4:03
3. Perfect Sunday 4:03
4. For the Moment 4:24
5. Femme Flight (Album Version) 4:25 6. Winter Rain 5:31
7. Sun's Out (Album) 3:55
8. I Am Fine 4:39
9. Moon On the Water 4:23
10. 'Til We Meet Again 5:27