Carol Albert uses music to heal on “Fly Away Butterfly” - By Dodie Miller-Gould
Carol Albert is a vocalist, keyboardist and composer. Her new album, “Fly Away Butterfly” represents Albert’s attempt to resume her music career after tragedy.
An introduction to “Fly Away Butterfly”
Albert’s work on “Fly Away Butterfly” took place after the death of her husband in 2014. The symbolism of the butterfly is clear–change. Having already taken some time off from recording prior to 2014, the tragic loss she suffered served both as a reason to perform, and a means to work through grief.
The CD itself is visually stunning. I realize that is not why people buy music, however, it is worth a look. Deep blue saturates or highlights images of Albert’s face, a large butterfly, also in shades of blue, covers the lower half of her face. On the inside, that same butterfly is poised atop an old-fashioned microphone, and Albert stands behind. She is holding a blue satin sheet that matches the color scheme found elsewhere. The color blue and its representation of sadness, and association with jazz is meaningful here.
The songs found on “Fly Away Butterfly” have a contemporary pop feel to them. Most notable among them are the title track, and “On My Way.” Given Albert’s reason for performing, the content of those songs gain meaning.
“Fly Away Butterfly”
The song opens with a flute’s trill that imitates the flutter of butterfly wings. Albert whispers the title in Spanish. The lyrics center on the title phrase.
Light sounds fill the track. In fact, light sounds fill the album. Albert is not a belter–at least not on this release, and that works here. This song reminds me of a subgenre called “new age jazz.” The purpose is to help listeners relax. As Albert sings, listeners thoughts are colored by the cool blue of the CD cover, and the disc itself.
The music is rich with flute, and it never goes heavy or brassy. Delicate sounds enrich the song’s purpose, and makes the listening that much more enjoyable.
“On My Way”
Heavier than the title track, pop jazz vocals singing syllables dance over the groovy piano. The horns add texture and verve. The backing vocals are a mix of r&b and pop. Albert’s voice is almost too soft here, she is barely heard over the backup singers at times. When the voices take turns singing, Albert is heard more clearly. Her style reminds listeners of pop jazz singers from the 1980s and 1990s–think Everything But the Girl and Swing Out Sister.
As far as the lyrical content goes, Albert is triumphant. She sings about spreading her wings and being on “on my way.” And the sassy saxophone line that fills the end punctuates the words, and listeners believe that Albert will do what she says.
“Fly Away Butterfly” is a light, jazzy exploration of human emotions. Albert makes her private pain public. However, the songs’ form and content allow listeners to ascribe their own meaning to them.
The album is worth a look and a listen. “Fly Away Butterfly” is available Sept. 1, 2017.
Carol's latest album is a great example of smooth jazz, as it is polished and refined within an inch of its life, with a very strong late Seventies feeling throughout. Her vocals are clean and gentle, and the music is exactly what one would expect from the genre (although I must make mention of some strong basswork from Sam Sims). As well as singing, Carol also provides keyboards, and I actually enjoyed the instrumentals more than I did the actual songs, as although the emotion has been removed, these at least have more vitality to them Although I know that there are those who enjoy the genre, it can never be anything more than background music for me. But, if this style of music is of interest then I suggest you visit CarolAlbertMusic.com where you can hear some of the material.
Review by Gonzo Weekly Issue #258
Repost from "The Current Hub" - archived post - By Tripp Liles, Editor.
Carol Albert is featured in the Current Hub (a Wellstar Publication). Click the below images to read the Profile Interview on Carol.
Review by Dee Dee McNeil - Archived here
She’s a singer/songwriter and pianist. This talented woman has recorded a unique and lovely album of her original compositions. She has written every song, with the exception of the very popular “Mas Que Nada” that she plays and sings with silky smooth vocals. This is an easy-listening project, perfect for Smooth Jazz radio airplay. Favorite cuts are: #4, “Across the Sky” that reflects shades of Marvin Gaye and Sadé, wrapped richly in her production and in the arrangement grooves. Cut #5, “One Way” sounds like you should be listening to it while on a highway, driving at maximum speed, and covered by blue skies, sunshine dreams and chasing a ‘Fly Away Butterfly’.
Carol Albert keyboards/bass programming/lead vocals/piano/producer/arranger; Trammell Starks, drum programming/keyboard/producer/horn arrangements; Rafael Pereira, percussion; Sam Skelton, saxophone/flute; Alfreda Gerald, Tony Hightower, Cheryl Rogers, background vocals; Susan Bennett and Ivette Ballara, spoken word Spanish; Sam Sims, Chocolat Costa & Joe Reda, bass; Chris Blackwell, guitar; Melvin Miller & Darren English, trumpets; Scott Meeder & Wayne Viar, drums.
Carol's latest release was reviewed in Spain. Below is the review and the translation. View the archived Review here
Carol Albert es una apasionada del piano y del canto. Originaria de la localidad de Hiram, en el norteamericano estado de Georgia, siendo una niña recibe clases de piano de su abuela, a la que le faltaba un brazo. Ambas se sentaban frente al piano, y mientras su abuela tocaba con la mano izquierda, Carol lo hacía con la derecha. Además de enseñarle a tocar el piano, su abuela también le enseñó a componer canciones. Como era de esperar, Carol pronto se interesa por el piano como instrumento de referencia. Comienza a tocar piano clásico en la Georgia State University donde obtiene una licenciatura en música. En el año 1.991 recibe una nominación al prestigioso premio Emmy. Tres años más tarde, en 1.994, presenta el álbum titulado “Tides Of Change” en el que se incluyen temas como “High Seas”, “To The Sun” o “Beyond Tomorrow”. Más adelante vendrán producciones discográficas tan sobresalientes como “Morning Music”, “Night Music” o “Christmas Mystique”, álbum de temática navideña. Las presentaciones en vivo de Carol Albert son habituales tanto en Europa(Suiza, Alemania, Francia, España, Inglaterra o Irlanda) como en los Estados Unidos (San Francisco, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia o Kentucky). El pasado mes de Agosto, Carol Albert presentaba su nueva producción musical bajo el titulo genérico de “Fly Away Butterfly”, disco del que se han extraído dos singles: “One Way”, versión original del vocalista desaparecido Al Jarreau y que se incluye en el álbum publicado en 1.988 y titulado “Heart´s Horizon”; y “Mas Que Nada”, tema clásico brasileño versionado por infinidad de artistas y músicos. El disco arranca con el tema que da titulo al álbum, composición que cuenta con el protagonismo de la flauta y el saxo de Sam Skelton. Entre los temas instrumentales destacan “Awakening”, “Chasing Waterfalls” y “Transition”. La vocalista y pianista no olvida incorporar temas vocales que acompaña con el sonido de su piano. Buena prueba de ello es la balada ligera titulada“Across The Sky” o el tema ligero “Never Thought It Would Be This Way”. El tema más movido y rítmico del disco es el instrumental “On My Way”, que aparte de los instrumentos, incorpora voces y coros. A lo largo de todo el álbum, Carol Albert canta y toca piano y teclados. A este nuevo proyecto discográfico de la vocalista y pianista se incorporan músicos de la talla deSam Skelton, Trammell Starks, Rafael Pereira, Sam Sims, Chris Blackwell, Melvin Miller, Scott Meeder, Joe Reda, Wayne Viar, Darren English, Englesson Silva y Chocolat Costa. La brillante presencia vocal corre de cuenta de cantantes y vocalistas como Alfreda Gerald, Susan Bennett, Ivette Ballara, Tony Hightower o Chocolat Costa. La totalidad del álbum es producido por la cantante y Trammell Starks. “One Way”, tema con el que se rinde tributo a Al Jarreau, es producido por Trammell Starks. Todos los temas son compuestos y arreglados por Carol Alberty Trammell Starks a excepción de “Mas Que Nada” y “One Way”. Interesantísimo nuevo proyecto musical de Carol Albert. Es obligado escucharlo.
Carol Albert is passionate about piano and singing. Originally from the town of Hiram, in the North American state of Georgia, as a child she receives piano lessons from her grandmother, who was missing an arm. Both sat in front of the piano, and while her grandmother played with her left hand, Carol did it with her right. In addition to teaching him to play the piano, his grandmother also taught him how to compose songs. Unsurprisingly, Carol soon became interested in the piano as a reference instrument. He started playing classical piano at Georgia State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in music. In the year 1.991 receives a nomination to the prestigious Emmy prize. Three years later, in 1994, it presents the album titled "Tides Of Change" which includes songs like "High Seas", "To The Sun" or "Beyond Tomorrow". Later will come such outstanding productions such as "Morning Music", "Night Music" or "Christmas Mystique", album of themática Christmas. Carol Albert's live performances are common in Europe (Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, England or Ireland) and the United States (San Francisco, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia or Kentucky). Last August, Carol Albert presented his new musical production under the generic title of "Fly Away Butterfly", disc of which have been extracted two singles: "One Way", original version of the missing singer Al Jarreau and that is included in the album published in 1988 and titled "Heart's Horizon"; and "Mas Que Nada", a Brazilian classic theme, with a lot of artists and musicians. The album kicks off with the theme that gives title to the album, composition that counts on the protagonism of the flute and the sax of Sam Skelton. Among the instrumental themes include "Awakening", "Chasing Waterfalls" and "Transition". The vocalist and pianist does not forget to incorporate vocal themes that accompanies with the sound of her piano. Good proof of this is the light ballad titled "Across The Sky" or the light theme "Never Thought It Would Be This Way." The most moved and rhythmic theme of the album is the instrumental "On My Way", which aside from the instruments, incorporates voices and choirs. Throughout the album, Carol Albert sings and plays piano and keyboards. Sam Skelton, Trammell Starks, Raphael Pereira, Sam Sims, Chris Blackwell, Melvin Miller, Scott Meeder, Joe Reda, Wayne Viar, Darren English, Englesson Silva and Chocolat are all part of this new vocalist and pianist project. Coast. The brilliant vocal presence runs from singers and vocalists like Alfreda Gerald, Susan Bennett, Ivette Ballara, Tony Hightower or Chocolat Costa. The entire album is produced by the singer and Trammell Starks. "One Way", subject that pays tribute to Al Jarreau, is produced by Trammell Starks. All songs are composed and arranged by Carol Alberty Trammell Starks with the exception of "Mas Que Nada" and "One Way". Interesting new musical project by Carol Albert. He is obliged to listen.
Carol Albert: Fly Away Butterfly
Carol Albert does bass programming, lush keyboards and lead singing on this collection of smooth Brazilian moods with dreamy support and framework. Sleek sax and flute from Sam Skelton make for gentle R&B on “Awakening” and “On My Way “ as well as the lithe title track. Albert’s piano trickles on “Never Thought It Would Be This Way” while she wisps through a breezy “Mas Que Nada” and delivers a mist of a vocal on her tribute to Al Jarreau on “One Way.” As smooth as a sandy beach at Ipanema.
Here's a link to the Review: www.jazzweekly.com/2017/08/two-sides-of-braziljorginho-neto-collective-harlem-carol-albert-fly-away-butterfly
Carol Albert enchanting jazz singer Carol Albert – FLY AWAY BUTTERFLY:
Carol is one of the most enchanting singers I’ve heard in a long time, and there’s a decided plus, in that she plays piano with some of the highest creative energy on the scene today. I recently did a video critique of her work, and you’ll see how professional her standards are there. On the album, high-spirit tunes like “On My Way” convey the kind of joy the world needs more & more of today… a SUPERB song, full of life!
The promo sheets explain that after Carol lost her husband (2014), she turned back to composing, so the music is automatically in the healing zone… don’t take that the wrong way, though… this isn’t “down, sad” music – not at ALL! You’ll hear how her spirit has been replenished as you listen to the wonderful “Transition“, where she clearly paints sonic cascades abundant with the joy of entry into new worlds… a MOST impressive song that gets constant play on my iPhone… I just LOVE this piece.
Though “Across the Sky” starts out with a decidedly jazz solo (think Coltrane), Carol’s vocal easily transports you into a zone where memories become reality – in a good way… some fine, FINE guitar work compliments the saxophone right at about the 2:10 mark, as well. A truly inspiring piece of music that everyone will enjoy!
One of the longer pieces (5:24), “Never Thought It Would Be This Way“, will surface memories both sad and full of the joy of living… it was an easy pick for my personal favorite of the ten offered up. I give Carol a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this “must-have” CD! Get more information about this fascinating player/singer on Carol’s website.
Review by: Rotcod Zzaj c/o of ContemporaryFusionReviews.com
CAROL ALBERT / Fly Away Butterfly: In the 70s, the gals were doing a subgenre known as divorcee rock. That seems to have mutated in the 10s to healing music, a combination of jazz, world and spirituality that seems to be the soundtrack for recovery of various sorts whether from addiction, loss, upheaval---or divorce. Albert is rejuvenating from loss and letting it lead her to rebirth. Enlisting one of the great secret weapons of our times, Trammell Starks to help her on her journey, this is almost like next gen-nu new age as it comes out of the gate. An experienced performer coming back into the light, this is no mere well intentioned effort by a bored wannabe looking for an outlet, this is the kind of alt.adult listening that turns heads and ears. A deep, personal set that grabs your attention and holds on tight. Well done. - CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
Link to source - click here
Ahh, we are again treated to the wholesome, all-embracing musical charm of the lovely vocalist/pianist/composer Carol Albert who has reemerged with her at once enticing and alluring offerings here on Fly Away Butterfly, an album of intensely satisfying melodies and lyrical colors.
The mesmerizing seduction of this music starts at track one (the title track) and never lets up as she takes you by the hand and leads you along this plush horizon of musical bliss with delicate caresses and high-spirited exoticism and finger-poppin’ grooves like that heard on her covers of the late Al Jarreau’s “One Way” and the classic “Mas Que Nada.”
Aside from “Mas Que Nada” and “One Way,” Albert has penned all of this well-produced material, and it’s obvious that she poured her very essence into the work. One should be warned of the inescapability of the appeal and mystique of this material. This is beauty alive and personified throughout.
Along with the lead and title track, there’s the exotic sway of such catchy tunes as “Awakening” and “Across the Sky,” the funky bounciness of “On My Way,” the beauty and intriguing play on moods found on “Chasing Waterfalls” which leads off in a rather sweet and sedate fashion and later ushers in a spirited crescendo, and the resoundingly comely track “Never Thought It Would Be This Way.”
To sum it up, this album truly defines delicate, refined, and class, and tosses in a track of feel-good funk for good measure. It’s quality belonging in the bright spotlight of this genre. Experience its attraction, and bathe in it with unabashed abandon. It calls for it. – Ronald Jackson c/o The Smooth Jazz Ride
Link to source - click here
While Carol Albert has made her mark in numerous musical worlds throughout her multi-faceted career – from the educational realm to new age to TV theme composing – she is rapidly finding a niche as an insightful, globally conscious groove and melody-centric contemporary jazz pianist and composer. One way an artist new to a genre can establish continuity is to pay homage to a legend who performed in that style and was also an inspiration. Her unique, soulful and funky yet magnificently exotic re-imagining of the late Al Jarreau’s “One Way” not only allows her to pay homage to one of her musical heroes in the wake of his passing. It’s a way to bridge past and present, bringing a nearly 30 year old classic album cut to glorious life for a generation of fresh ears.
“One Way” is also the perfect showcase for her wordless vocal artistry and melodic, groove oriented piano playing, as well as the seamless interaction between her, guitarist Chris Blackwell and sax/flutist Sam Skelton. Somewhere, Jarreau is definitely smiling his approval and singing along. Like her previous single “On My Way,” it’s a heartfelt track that’s perfect for this moment in time – and another exciting introduction to what promises to be her best full length album yet in Fly Away Butterfly.
Get the song at the Official Carol Albert Store
While her eclectic career and compositional magnificence as a recording artist and international performer has inspired fans throughout the world for years, Carol Albert is emerging now as an essential artist of our time because she dares – on her current single “On My Way” – to hope and inspire in an age where it’s easy to become pessimistic. Perhaps the most amazing thing about her uplifting, passionately jazzy and percussive anthem is that she wrote it long before we collectively needed it at this moment. With its sassy horns (arranged by co-producer Trammell Starks), playful melody and exotic rhythms, she’s also able to extend the pop-jazz meets world music vibe of her Brazilian tinged 2016 airplay sensation “Mas Que Nada.” Even if the words she sang weren’t so inspiring and necessary, it’s also great to hear her soaring, sensual vocals, both wordless and not – which are as inviting as her piano and synth melodies and bright improvisational runs. Full of joy, celebration and positive thinking and energy, “On My Way” is the perfect track to clean the slate and start the New Year fresh and looking up. -
JANUARY, 2017 | MUSIC CONNECTION & JAZZIZ MAGAZINE
We had a chance to preview Carol Albert's new single "On My Way" today and we love it! Listen for the debut of Carol's fresh new tune soon on the SJN!
We asked Carole about the new single; “I originally wrote ‘On My Way” for an earlier project as a song of hope and optimism. I wanted to remake the song in a unique way that reflected that same positivity for the times we live in today." - Carol Albert
After lighting up radio in the summer and fall of 2016 – and celebrating the Rio Olympics - with her fresh and exotic contemporary re-imagining of the Brazilian classic “Mas Que Nada,” veteran composer, pianist and keyboardist Carol Albert launches into 2017 with a burst of infectious, high energy optimism on her latest single, “On My Way.” Set for release February 1, the percussive, horn-drenched track features Carol’s vibrant vocals conveying words which make this a much needed anthem for our times: “On My Way/To a better day/I’ll spread my wings and fly away…what lies ahead will set me free/For a Better Day/With love and faith/I’m On My Way.” On the vocal section, she is backed by the powerful background vocal harmonies of Alfreda Gerald, Tony Hightower and Cheryl Rogers.
Co-produced by Carol with keyboardist Trammel Starks, “On My Way” features the explosive ensemble of guitarist Chris Blackwell, bassist Sam Sims and drummer Scott Meeder, The song was arranged by Carol, with Starks creating the dynamic horn arrangements played by saxophonist Sam Skelton (who also has prominent solo spotlights) and trumpeter Melvin Miller.
“I originally wrote ‘On My Way” for an earlier project as a song of hope and optimism,” says the classically trained Carol, who has performed throughout the U.S. and internationally everywhere from Sweden, Germany and France to England, Ireland and Spain. I wanted to remake the song in a unique way that reflected that same positivity for the times we live in today. The original was entirely vocal and I chose this time to only have vocals on the chorus and feature instrumental passages throughout the rest of the track, using my voice as one of the instruments.”
Carol’s multi-faceted career includes the release of five albums dating back to the early 90s, including the popular 2006 new age solo piano releases Morning Music and Night Music; serving as a staff accompanist for the Georgia State University Music Department, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Ballet; and providing entertainment for trade shows, corporations, organizations and pubic venues. She has also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement and Individual Excellence as a Composer for original theme music, and won a first place award in the professional jazz category from the Atlanta Songwriter’s Association. “Dreamer” from Christmas Mystique was chosen as one of the finalists in the New Age Music category of the Global Peace Awards. In addition to performing and composing, Carols is an educator who trains and mentors young promising music students.
Review: Scott Yanow (author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists, The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76)
Carol Albert is a classically-trained pianist with a sound of her own. Based in Atlanta, she has toured Europe several times, performed throughout the U.S. and recorded five previous CDs.
On Christmas Mystique, Ms. Albert has created an atmospheric set of Xmas-related music. She is the main soloist and adds her voice to a few of the numbers in addition to arranging most of the music and contributing two originals.
Trumpeter Darren English is a key member of the supporting cast on several of the selections including the opening “Mary Did You Know” where he interacts with Carol Albert’s haunting voice. The leader’s “Christmas Without You” is a wistful ballad that features some excellent playing from guitarist Dan Baraszu. The pianist’s other original, “Dreamer,” has some spoken word from Susan Bennett, fine flute contributed by Wouter Kellerman, and an effective quote from “Beautiful Dreamer” during the classical-inspired arrangement.
“We Three Kings” is given a unique treatment with an appealing groove, muted trumpet, and a melody that only emerges gradually during the danceable performance. “Come Emmanuel” sounds quite exotic in this new setting with a fine contribution from trumpeter English.
The remaining five selections put the focus very much on Carol Albert’s melodic piano playing. “Carol Of The Bells” has a classical feel, “Deck The Halls” is modernized quite effectively, and “Greensleeves” is beautifully and thoughtfully played, sounding as if the pianist is thinking aloud. After a relaxed and respectful treatment of “Silent Night,” the program concludes with a very sensitive solo piano rendition of “Christmas Time Is Here.”
Christmas Mystique lives up to its title, a set full of subtle creativity and quiet but often stirring interpretations of music related to the holiday season. Carol Albert’s CD is well worth several listens.
SCOTT YANNOW - ALL MUSIC GUIDE
"Lush, soaring melodies which allow you to use imagination as you become one with sweet imagery."
DESERT NEWS - SALT LAKE CITY, UT
"The Instrumentals are songs in which, instead of vocals, pianos, synthesizers and other instruments, speak-their cadence and phrasing seeming to enunciate unspoken lyrics."
R. NEWLIN - MARRIOTT PLATINUM CUSTOMER
"The purpose of this letter is to recognize Carol Albert, one of your best assets for your visitors."
DENNIS NARANJO - WFBE 95.1 FM
"Your CD has commanded a great deal of play time. Listeners are asking when your next will be released."
JONN SERRIE - RECORDING ARTIST
Stunning.....simply stunning and original all the way around. Congrats to you, Trammel and everyone who worked on Christmas Mystique. Loved Emmanuel and gonna listen a lot more today!
S. M. GALIOTO - RIGHT MGMT CONSULTANTS
"Thank you for a wonderful performance. Your music was enjoyed by all."