Lizz Wright: Fellowship

Verve Forecast

Some voices simply are timeless. Since her jazz-pop debut, Salt, Lizz Wright's decadent alto has evolved into such a gift. On Fellowship, her voice is on awesome display, with premium folk singer/songwriter and producer Toshi Reagon. She positively channels Mahalia Jackson on "God Specializes," "Amazing Grace," and the Caravan's "Sweeping Through the City," while besting Gladys Knight on the Motown hit "Imagination." Fellowship's righteous guest lineup includes Angelique Kidjo, Me'Shell N'Degeocello, Joan as Policewoman, and Dr. Bernice Reagon. A suitably convicted '50s-era jubilee chorus supports Wright's glorious "Gospel Medley," and miraculously updates their Negro spirituals for the theologically progressive original "Fellowship." Oddities like the k.d. lang-ish "Feed the Light" and Eric Clapton's underwhelming "Presence of the Lord" benefit from Wright's transformational gifts, as will those who listen to this spa for the spirit. (4 out of 5 stars)