Ndidi Onukwulu The Contradictor

The smooth, velvety blues of Ndidi Onukwulu’s 2006 debut disc, No I Never, have been whisked away on her second album by a whirl of bombastic jazz and pop. Onukwulu pushes her boundaries this time around, bringing sassier vocals, brighter and brassier arrangements, and a generally cheekier sensibility to The Contradictor. Jazz trumpet, strings (courtesy of Jesse Zubot) and searing electric blues riffs from Steve Dawson and Paul Pigat give greater depth and scope to her compositions, providing a more ornate setting for her exceptional voice, which blazes with more confidence than ever before. Onukwulu has exchanged the granola for glam and put together a sophisticated, surprising and surefooted sophomore album. Yes indeedy, this is seriously heady stuff. (Jericho Beach)