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In yet another entry to a year already jam-packed with great Philly jazz records, Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five will be releasing a new album, Carolina Lullaby, on August 7th.

Their first full-length release since 2017’s Spreadin’ Rhythm Around, Carolina Lullaby is supported by two singles so far: “Carolina Lullaby” and “Fireflies.” Both singles are steeped in pure New Orleans blues, with aspects of big-band swing permeating every sax lick, trumpet flare, and keyboard riff. Contemporary jazz music is often dominated by groups opting for more experimental, free approaches; it’s refreshing to hear a band explore and innovate while still maintaining a strong tie to some of the earliest forms of jazz.

Chelsea Reed, the lead vocalist, sounds remarkably like Joni Mitchell at times: some of the inflections she uses on “Fireflies” sound like a swing band rendition of Mitchell’s “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines.” Her swooping, carefree vocals, backed by bluesy chords, perfectly incorporates folksy singer/songwriter lyricism, while still maintaining a bright, swung feel. Special credit should go to the pianist and bassist on this track, too: their solos (in the middle and end of the track, respectively) are both excellent.

Purchase Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five’s “Fireflies” and “Carolina Lullaby,” and pre-order their upcoming album Carolina Lullaby (out August 7th), here.

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