With the release of her fifth studio recording Lili Añel can see bliss and if there is any form of justice for artists everyone will experience this bliss from her mouth to our ears. At this point in her life and career Añel took the reins of production along with the help of Dale Melton who also plays keyboards on the recording. “I Can See Bliss From Here” replaces Añel’s jazz tinged popular song structures that have been the commercial goal of previous producers to a savvy collection her own style. In the role of producer the level of artistic achievement Añel creates satisfies every aspect of the experience spectrum making the musical exchange assessable for all lovers of good music while presenting an intelligently designed group of songs.
Añel takes her audience on an ever-changing flow of styles and emotions keeping the listener engaged with the changes and pace through strong melodies and rhythm. The skillful transitions occur using folk, blues, jazz and samba styles to ease the listener into the resolve of understanding and wanting the bliss that Añel can see. Living for Today-the fourth song on the CD is a song that could easily become a standard in a jazz singers repertoire. “I Can See Bliss From Here” offers many up-tempo pieces that show her resolve against the odds she has faced in both health and finance. Living with the issues of Alopecia Añel has become an advocate and fundraiser for agencies that bring relief to children who live with the same issues. In the second track -Something To Do, Añel sings about growing up in Harlem and the strength of her Mother working and raising a family. Añel shows similar strength in many areas, she sings, “When people laugh at me I just smile because I believe they’re just scared, it could be them instead of me, they wouldn’t know what to do.” Añel is a tough girl from the barrio with an amazing voice and great guitar skills that isn’t afraid to show her emotions and vulnerability as well as strength.
“I Can See Bliss From Here” contains twelve songs, ten of which were written by Añel, one written by her friend, the late Jef Lee Johnson and one by Ray LaMontagne. Doing this type of work brings many comparisons Añel has often been compared to Joan Armatrading among others. Taking on the production tasks was a giant step in Añel’s artistic development as it was in Armatrading’s career. Añel, has now established herself among the ranks of musicians such as Sarah Vaughan and Cassandra Wilson with this collection. With “I Can See Bliss From Here” the bar has been raised in vocal strength and range along with the power of composition and production skills. Añel has outgrown the Armatrading comparisons at this point. Although one cannot know what to expect from Armatrading because of her versatility what came to mind when I listened to this CD the first time was that this was the musical structure I was expecting to hear on Armatrading’s last studio recording that was touted as her jazz CD. While I did enjoy it, it did not fulfill the experience I was anticipating. “I Can See Bliss From Here” filled the expectations and surpassed. This CD is the sweet spot.