Review – ‘Queen Rising’ by Kersten Stevens

Kersten Stevens, Queen of The Violin, is back with a new album. It is called Queen Rising, and it blends elements of smooth jazz with a classical base.

The seven song effort offers some original tracks, a few remakes, and an original track with a familiar sample.

Christian McBride produced the album, and he is featured on three tracks. Flautist Ragan Whiteside is also featured on a track.

Review – ‘Queen Rising’ by Kersten Stevens

The project begins with Queen Rising. Ragan Whiteside guests, and this mid-tempo groove is a showcase of the talents of these two musicians. Whiteside’s flute takes the lead on this one, but Stevens’ violin flows nicely, and you get an orchestral feel in a smooth jazz forum.

Up next we get Fantasy. Stevens offers up a dramatic intro before she dives into her interpretation of the classic Earth Wind & Fire track. The arrangement is similar to the original, but the violin adds some color to the track, giving it an entirely different feel. You will love the energy she brings toward the end. 

Stevens puts her spin on another classic, Someday We’ll All Be Free. There are some song that were meant to have an instrumental version, and this is one of those songs. The violin is right at home here, and the synth gives it an old school 80s feel.

Beginnings and Endings is next. Christian McBride is doing his thing on the bass, and this track reminds us of some older George Duke, and we are not mad at that. All of the musicians get their chance to shine, and we are sure the jazz heads will enjoy this.

Release the Grace is an original track, BUT they sample Never Too Much from Luther Vandross. Even though that sample is very familiar, you still have some new arrangements to discover, so it really makes it interesting as you listen to something new through an older lens.

In You’ve Been Crowned, we delve into some Latin elements, with the guitar riffs and the unique percussion sounds. Stevens is riding that groove quite nicely, and at eight and a half minutes long, you get the full treatment.

Review - 'Queen Rising' by Kersten Stevens Candid

The set concludes with Best Part, the track made famous by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. You cannot go wrong with a good slow jam, and Stevens picked the right one to remake. Simple, yet elegant, this is a great song to close out the album.

Queen Rising will speak to the listener who enjoys a nice recording, as the production is stellar. It sounds great, the musicianship is on point, and we are sure you will find something to add to your playlists.

You can stream the album on Spotify, here.

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