By Justin Kantor, SoulTracks
(February 11, 2020) Robin McKelle has spent the past two decades exploring the vast vocal terrains of jazz, soul, and the American songbook. On her ninth album, Alterations, the internationally renowned singer-songwriter delves into the works of female greats ranging from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton. The first taste of the ambitious project comes via a remarkably fresh take on Sade’s 1992 classic, “No Ordinary Love.”
Placed in a classic jazz context peppered with Latin influences, McKelle’s rendering of “No Ordinary Love” retains the sultry seriousness of Sade’s original, but translates its understated arrangement into a lively affair with rich hues of soul. The lucidity of her contemplative phrasing and emotive tones glides instinctively with the rhythm section, which builds from a hushed subtlety to a passionate musical manifesto.
McKelle has released a striking video for “No Ordinary Love” which embodies the mood of the new recording impeccably. Classic in concept and atmospheric in presentation, its elegant execution is of a caliber not seen often these days—but for this far from ordinary singer and timeless song, it is most deserved