Laila Biali: Laila Biali

review laila biali x1 cong

We usually Google bands to see other reviews, often on badly written geeky or student sites but it was telling that Biali’s top review was a syndicated one: she plays a brand of international smooth jazz that they probably play to soothe the evil souls of delegates at Davos.

Music like that often leaves us a little unmoved; Caro Emerald springs to mind, or even the likes of Michael Bublé. Music for people who like an old-fashioned tune played blandly.

But this album is much better than your average smooth jazz, in the same way as there’s disposable radio-friendly American rock and then Tom Petty (RIP) and Fleetwood Mac.

Biali has a slick voice well suited to piano bars at airport hotels, but the music is complex and tight, generally with an edge. There are a couple of tracks where it’s too tightly arranged and slips into that sounds-like-it’s-rocking music aimed at people who don’t actually like loud music, but on the whole it’s pretty good.

Biali wrote nine of the songs, always a good thing, but the three covers are all surprising and done well: a slow take of Coldplay’s Yellow; a version of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which opens with just bass and vocals and turns into a late-night lounge bar tune, and Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.

We suspect a chunk of her income will come from corporate gigs and if she tours, it’ll be at the RNCM or the Lowry. Fans of easy listening jazz or big bands will probably love it.

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