Jazz Aspen Labor Day: Corinne Bailey Rae on her joyous new album
If You Go …
Who: Corinne Bailey Rae
Where: Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, Snowmass Town Park
When: Sunday, Sept. 4, 3 p.m.
Tickets: Sold out
More info: Corinne Bailey Rae will be followed by Duran Duran at 5 p.m. and Stevie Wonder at 7:30 p.m.
If Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Green Aphrodisiac” wasn’t already an anthem of summer 2016, the infectious R&B track got an official seal of approval last month when President Obama included it on his Summer Playlist.
The Grammy-winning British singer-songwriter brings that song and a host of others from three albums and an EP to the stage Sunday as she opens the day’s lineup at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience.
Rae is touring in support of her third full-length album, “The Heart Speaks in Whispers.” The new record is a collection of hopeful, sensuous, often joyous songs. Sometimes powered by drum machine and synth, its upbeat spirit is a stark shift from 2010’s “The Sea,” the gorgeous and melancholy album on which the young singer reflected on her husband’s untimely 2008 death.
“This record is about all the things that can and do come when you have a big life change, that there can be a lot of pain and a lot of joy as well,” she said from a recent tour stop in Kansas City.
Over the past decade, Corinne Bailey Rae has made three very different records. That’s no coincidence, she said.
“I always want to do something different — it’s almost a reaction to whatever the last record was,” she explained. “I want to expand as an artist and do new things and feel free not to make any particular kind of music but to feel free to explore.”
She recorded “The Heart Speaks in Whispers” in her home studio in Leeds and at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, where she hooked up with a crew of virtuoso West Coast musicians (among them was Marcus Miller, the bassist who gave a stand-out performance at Jazz Aspen’s June Experience).
“I wanted to do something that was about power and drums and dynamic music,” Rae said.
The album is filled with natural imagery – clouds and sunshine and an avalanche and more. Performing some of the new songs in the heart of the Rockies is a good fit. She turned to the natural world, she said, as she found herself writing about her personal journey from tragedy to hope.
“I love being out in nature and I love what nature teaches us about transformation,” she said. “That was an important aspect of the record. … A lot of those songs came through in this subconscious way, where I just sat at the guitar or piano and let the music come through.”
Sunday marks Rae’s Aspen debut, though she’s been through Colorado a handful of times (including a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Nora Jones). It’s not the first time she’s shared a stage with Stevie Wonder, though. Rae opened for the music legend earlier this year at Hyde Park in London.
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