by: Geannine Reid

Pedigreed with degrees from Berklee College of Music and a Masters in Vocal Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music, Composer, Lyricist, Vocalist and Vocal Instrumentalist Jocelyn Medina serves up her sophomore release We Are Water with effortless intricacy and an international flavor. Her compositions are lyrically epigrammatic and musically engaging. Backed by an outstanding ensemble, We Are Water delivers musically and vocally.

“Cosmic” opens the proceedings with a harkening to the Return to Forever era. Medina’s ideas shine with expressive notes over the underlying harmonic ideas. Rodrigo Ursaia augments the tune with modern styled arpeggios during his saxophone solo, while guitarist Ralphael McGregor evokes a higher power to elevate the track to a boiling point.

Contrasting in nature, “We Are Water,” the title track is a reflective cut that takes the listener on an exploration of the human condition. A halfway point highlights the original “Natural,” a sterling example of fine writing reminiscent of the masterful pen help by Joni Mitchell, this cut most of all has crossover appeal.

“Reason” is an apt closure for this wonderfully conceived grouping of original compositions. Medina uses her voice as an instrument and pens lyrics that help the listener look deeper within their own abilities for compassion. Medina reveals herself to the listener, keeping the message honest, on target and delivered with passionate conviction and vocal prowess.

We Are Water is much more than a vocal jazz release, it is a reminder that jazz lyrics have a future of deeper lyrical meanings and the ability to combine positive thought provoking moments with word and music. Each member of the ensemble contributes equally to the musical outcome, Medina’s lyrics on eat cut are like experiencing the words of a poet. Her meanings are moving, substantive and leave you pondering a deeper place in yourself. I hope to see many more recording in the future from this outstanding composer, vocalist and masterful ink slinger. Simply, outstanding!