Midnight Shelter

Midnight Shelter

In-person musical encounters were scarce in 2020, when vocalist Sachal Vasandani and pianist Romain Collin got together to make Midnight Shelter. By nature of the stripped-down duo setting, it’s one of the clearest, most intimate and fulfilling portraits of Vasandani as a singer to date. The warmth and depth of his instrument, the restraint in his delivery, the unique interpretive worlds he creates from contemporary pop like Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go” and Harry Styles’ “Adore You”: Vasandani is a bright light in 21st-century vocal jazz, and with the big, cinematic sound and heightened sensitivity of Collin at the piano, he’s especially in good form. Songwriters of older vintage (Dylan, Beatles, Nick Drake) come into play as well. “Throw It Away” is a gem from one of Vasandani’s great jazz vocal forebears, Abbey Lincoln. The duo also ventures a co-written song (“Great Ocean Road”), two by Vasandani (“Summer No School,” “Love Away”), and a beauty from Collin, “One Last Try,” that originally appeared on his 2012 debut, The Calling. In a moment that attests to Vasandani’s range and refined creative instincts, he ends “Blackbird” in his very lowest register, then shifts to his highest for the beginning of Wayne Shorter’s “Dance Cadaverous” (from the 1966 Blue Note classic Speak No Evil, with Vasandani’s original lyrics).

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