The true test of any CD is the repeatability factor: how it bears up under multiple plays. Soulsinger passes the exam with flying colors.

The true test of any CD is the repeatability factor: how it bears up under multiple plays. Soulsinger passes the exam with flying colors. Written and produced by Oakland, Calif.-based singer Ledisi and partner/keyboardist Sundra Manning, this refreshing, promising debut gets right down to business with the ear-opening funk of "Get Outta My Kitchen." From there, the duo plots a course through R&B, gospel, jazz, pop, and rock, effortlessly shifting themes from the usual (love, self-exploration) to the not-so-usual (parental abuse) and comes up with such winners as "Take Time," "I Want'cha Babe," and "Good Lovin'." While some songs get bogged down by overdone hooks, that's a minor quibble next to Ledisi's captivating vocals. Calling to mind Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and others as she alternately scats or lets loose on lead or background, Ledisi's organic alto is ultimately her own sweet weapon that she wields with confidence. Contact: 415-281-0571.—GM

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