Linnzi Zaorski
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Linnzi Zaorski

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The best kept secret in music


"Gambit Weekly - New Orleans Premium Weekly Magazine"

Style and emotion elevate Linnzi Zaorski & Delta Royale's new debut CD. One of the old axioms of the music business is that everything old becomes new again. Whether it's punk, rock, blues or surf music, it's inevitable that the planets of taste align to spark mini-revivals of genres that were popular years or decades ago. The New Orleans jazz scene is in a constant state of renewal, as indigenous sounds and traditions seduce new generations of locals and transplants alike.

Linnzi Zaorski has honed a presentation that swings the stylistic pendulum in the opposite direction. Zaorski is part of the edgy and energetic trad-jazz scene at the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street, where bands like the New Orleans Jazz Vipers are pumping up New Orleans' most famous musical export with hip Faubourg Marigny attitude. And with her debut self-titled CD, Zaorski's blossoming into one of the movement's leading lights.

Zaorski's reminiscent of her peer Ingrid Lucia, thanks to an arresting voice and unique vocal timbres. Like Lucia, Zaorski can project a child-like sense of wonder, or impart a wry, almost conversational singing style that would probably make Danny Barker proud. It's simultaneously girlish and powerful, and when Zaorski skips and saunters her way though a standard like "The Way You Look Tonight," it sounds brand new. She's also assembled a formidable band featuring guitarist Seva Venet, bassist Robert Snow, saxophonists and clarinetist Ryan Burrage, and (deja vu) trumpeter Charlie Fardella. The drumless format gives songs like Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair" an airy, full ambience that's the perfect match for Zaorski's voice.

What's even more surprising is that the album seamlessly blends seven live tracks recorded at the Spotted Cat, and six studio tracks recorded at the Truck Farm Studio. (Truck Farm engineer Andrew Gilchrist helped shepherd the live recording.) Listening to the CD, it's startling to hear the applause on the live performances. In that respect, Zaorski and her debut CD do what the best live jazz does: transport you to a different, magical place, until you're compelled to clap at its beauty.
- Scott Jordan

"Offbeat - The New Orleans Music Authority"

While technique, control and tone are important aspects of jazz singing, it is a performer's individual style that gets them recognized. You can learn technique, but not style. Throwback torch singer Linnzi Zaorski understands the importance of style as her debut album is brimming with it. Throughout, Zaorski is backed by a sympathetic quartet including Ryan Burrage on reeds, Jackson Square Band veteran Seva Venet on guitar, Charlie Fardela on trumpet and Robert snow providing the backbone on upright bass.

Unlike her other gig with the New Orleans Jazz Vipers, Delta Royale veers away from the Hot Club swing into more of a singer's repertoire of popular standards made famous by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday. But Zaorski finds a voice outside of these singing giants on oft-covered classics like "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Stars fell On Alabama." Eschewing the pathos of Billie Holiday and the studied perfection of Ella, Zaorski evokes the great Mildred Bailey (especially on the Bailey vehicle "Rockin Chair") with her stylized enunciation and bright tone.

While it is Zaorski's affair, the band takes the spotlight swinging mightily on a hot version of "What A Little Moonlight Can Do." But it is to the band's credit as accompanists that the focus remains on the voice of Zaorski. Even when singing laments like "Why Was I Born?" you get the impression that beneath the pout, there is an assured smirk, that when she declares "Our Love Is Here To Stay," she’s crossing her fingers. This girl's definitely got style. Linnzi Zaorski and Delta Royale seduce listeners weekly at the Spotted Cat.
- CD Reviews - February 2003


Linnzi Zaorski & Delta Royal (2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Traditional jazz will always underpin the musical landscape of New Orleans. An infinite number of names have taken up the task of breathing new life into the old standards. The better of these end up in figurative lights for various reasons: vigorous energy, impeccable musicality, but the most effective catapult to the top of the marquee might be the ability to make the old songs sing with an entirely new voice. That is exactly the compliment I would pay to Linnzi Zaorski. Her voice is perfectly suited to the material she covers, not a copycat of former jazz divas, but smirking with a new confidence born of the deep understanding and respect of singing the music you love in your own way.

She’ll never be the genuine article, but it’s only because of her temporally restrictive birthdate. But it’s not entirely accurate to say that she’s contemporary. The sounds you would hear when she plays the Spotted Cat with Delta Royale you couldn’t find anywhere aside from what you might dig up after a whole day spent sifting through ten cent record crates. Her presence transforms the candle-lit dive into a swank hotel lounge with cut crystal chandeliers from half a century ago, a voice sparkling like a Royal Street window that overflows with costume jewelry, spilling light onto everything around it. It’s captivating the way she sings, showing you the beauty of things you’ve heard before, but somehow made new again through her presentation. The sound of her voice bubbles up like an artesian spring connected to the ancient aquifer where jazz was born. It’s not a voice that could have been trained to sound that way, but rather a gift of song carefully cultivated to become the epitome of iteslf.

That personal confidence is what I find most attractive about Linnzi as a songbird. Her album with Delta Royale is a testament to her ability and consistency. It takes plain old guts to put out an album that intermingles live and studio material. Thanks in part to the sonic mixing of Andrew Gilchrist at the Truck Farm, the album plays beautifully. Every track is stamped with her unique style, and the tracklisting itself tells volumes about her taste, that all important quality that can never be forced or pinned down. You won’t hear Hoagy Carmichael’s “Rocking Chair” the same way after you’ve heard Linnzi demand you “fetch her that gin boy or she’s gonna tan your hide.” It’s a brave tracklisting as well, tackling standards on pedestals and turning songs many would classify as reproachable into approachable.

I return again to confidence, because it adds so much to her appeal as an artist instead of her simply being another vocalist (just bear with me here if you’re one of those people that can’t see people that perform the material of others as “artists”). It’s evident in every note she sings that she’s got more going for her than musical ability and control. She’s got style, and she knows it. She’s got the difference between visiting a club to hear some good music and following an individual because they have personality as an artist. She’s traditional enough to satisfy the serious audiophiles and contemporary enough for people to take notice of her as something new to watch. Her cleanly sparkling voice needs the rich material she finds in traditional jazz, and through those standards, the full spectrum of her style is refracted in a brilliant rainbow.

- Ian Kramar, Fox 8 News