Newcomer Lizz Wright has three things in common with Grammy Award-winning Norah Jones: She is a photogenic, atypical jazz artist signed to a signature jazz imprint.

Newcomer Lizz Wright has three things in common with Grammy Award-winning Norah Jones: She is a photogenic, atypical jazz artist signed to a signature jazz imprint. The impressive Salt is certainly jazz, but it's also neo-soul, gospel, blues, folk, and pop. Sounding very comfortable throughout is Wright, who sits somewhere between song stylists Cassandra Wilson and Anita Baker, Dianne Reeves and Oleta Adams. A mix of standards and Wright originals, Salt opens with a groove-rich cover of "Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly" (which is most associated with Flora Purim). From there, the artist effortlessly handles such treasures as "Soon as I Get Home" (from the Broadway musical The Wiz) and the late Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue." With passionate delivery and sensitive phrasing, Wright makes both songs her own. Original heartfelt songs like "Eternity" and "Blue Rose" also shine. A stirring debut.—MP

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