Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Sofia Laiti: Reviews

On Like A Road Leading Home, Sofia has broadened her repertoire, turning to latterday pop and in particular the music of Bob Dylan. Only recently has Dylan's work been taken up by singers in and on the edges of jazz and many listeners will not be surprised that his songs lend themselves to interpretation by contemporary singers. The songs have interesting melodies and meaningful lyrics that explore many topics not often touched upon by the writers of classic pop. Sofia's interpretations reach to the heart of these songs and she delivers always fascinating variations on the originals, leaning in some instances towards country while the blues that Dylan so admires can also be heard. On this 2011 release, Sofia is joined by pianist James Weidman, bassist Marcus McLauren, guitarist Adam Lomeo, and drummer Vince Ector, while accordionist Mariel Berger and violinist Scott Tixier bring added colour to the basic ensemble sound. This is a very pleasing set that should have wide appeal and should certainly extend this admirable singer's audience.

Like A Road Leading Home

  

"...You surely did a very fine job singing some well-known great songs that were not so easy to sing as covered so many times in these years. I enjoyed your own versions, the vocals and the arrangements too."

 Like A Road Leading Home

 

Massimo Ferro - Radio Voce Spazzio, Italy (Sep 23, 2011)

To a very large extent, "You Don't Know Me" (Midnight Sun Record) is an apt title for Sofia Laiti's fourth record. Sofia was raised in Finland, but settled in New York in the early nineties. Her vocal approach is fiercely original, both rooted in, and departing from, the tradition. In an aesthetic approach recalling both Billie Holiday and Betty Carter's, Sofia Laiti finds some new ways of bending the notes in crucial parts of standard. Plus, her voice, at times recalling a jazz version of Bjork. The inclusion of two songs from the Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf repertoire is perfectly suited to her approach.

You Don't Know Me 2004

JazzTrenzz : Sofia Laiti "You Don't Know Me" CD Reviews / CD Reviews Date: Sep 14, 2004 - 12:00 AM Karl Stober

The seductive Finnish vocals are almost Dietrich-esk as Sofia Laiti introduces you to her distinct interpretation of jazz vocals with "You Don't Know Me" released by Midnight Sun Music Production. She ignites the feelings that were meant to be felt when these songs first hit the charts. Side by side with Ms. Laiti are tenor saxophonist Houston Person, pianist Larry Ham, bassist Leon Dorsey, and drummer Vince Ector, all who bring a fresh and crisp sound to the project.

One will notice right out of the box the deep bodacious tones coming from within Ms. Laiti's small frame. This is a fresh, deeply sensual at times, new sound that takes jazz in a new direction. One can experience that sound when listening to I'm In The Mood For Love and the Piaf standard, La Vie En Rose. Both percolate with seduction and that cafe type romance Hollywood made so famous. Ms. Laiti more than any cut on this project, scripts vocally her signature out on title song "You Don't Know Me". The sax in this composition is very prominent and makes this effort stand out. The backdrop of ivories assists in delivering the romantic message. To listen is to know Ms. Laiti. Then maybe you will "Know Her". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This article comes from eJazzNews.com : The Number One Jazz News Resource On The Net http://www.ejazznews.com/ The URL for this story is: http://www.ejazznews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3263

You Don't Know Me 2004

 

Musicians: Sofia Laiti, vocals. Houston Person, saxophone. Larry Ham, piano. Leon Lee Dorsy, bass. Vince Ector, drums. Review: Originally from Finland, this singer knows her jazz and does some fine vocals in the nice collection, YOU DON'T KNOW ME. Sofia Laiti has a sultry, sensual voice that has a fine, solid range, and her phrasing is perfect for the songs she performs. There are twelve songs in the collection. Among them are such songs as "Desafinado," "The Way We Were," "Ranskalaiset Korot," "I'm In the Mood For Love," and "You Don't Know Me." Topnotch performances backed by the many stylistic piano talents of pianist Larry Ham and other musicians, this CD will bring the listening audience many hours of enjoyment. A nice entertainment! Reviewed by: Lee Prosser -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright� 2004 JazzReview.com�. All Rights Reserved.

You Don't Know Me 2004

CD Review "You Don't Know Me" by Winthrop Bedford December 2005

Sometimes, all you have to do is take a look at the personnel and you know that the music has to be right. That’s the case on vocalist Sofia Laiti’s latest release, You Don’t Know Me. Larry Ham is a master accompanist, and together with bassist Leon Lee Dorsey and drummer Ector, the foundation is set for Laiti to feel comfortable. Indeed comfortable she is. From the opening lyrics to the closing of the last of the twelve tracks, “What A Little Moonlight Can Do,” the feeling I experience is that Laiti is singing from the deepest place inside, fully sharing her emotions. The set opens with a sensuous rendition of the ballad Frank Sinatra wrote and made famous performing “I’m A Fool To Want You.” Laiti squeezes this one for all the juice she can get out it. Houston Person gently fills in the spaces she leaves, and solos delicately, as we get to savor a certain simplicity expressed in his magnificent tone. It’s difficult to create anything but a quality recording with a supporting cast led by the prolific Houston Person.

Laiti hails from Finland, and her vocal style bears the inflections and accents of her native tongue. At first, I found this to draw my attention away from the music and performance itself. Once I felt how sensitively, and sensually she feels and expresses this set of standards, I was drawn in to this labyrinth of passion that her music is about.

In the sense that Laiti, creates intensity at slow tempos, on ballads and down tempo bossa novas, she has the energy and expressiveness of Shirley Horn. Just about the fastest tempo on this album is nothing if not relaxed, and that’s on Jobim’s classic Bossa “Desafinado” and another even slower Bossa on “I’m In The Mood Of Love” – which is a memorable performance. Among the other standout ballads are “You Don’t Know Me,” and Ellington’s “Solitude.” I enjoy her most when she explores the lower registers of her potential. Her voice is raspy, smoky and deep there. With these relaxed tempos and Houston Person’s lush sound and expressive ideas, this is definitely after midnight listen. (Acrobat Reader Page 45)

You Don't Know Me 2004

Sofia Laiti Don't Know Me (Midnight Sun POH 2709-3) This is Sofia Laiti's fourth CD and with it she ably demonstrates why she has gained an admiring following since first coming to New York from her native Finland in 1989. Sofia has a mature contralto and has comfortably mastered her second language. Backed by an effective quartet: pianist Larry Ham, bassist Leon Lee Dorsy, drummer Vince Ector and veteran tenor saxophonist Houston Person, Sofia performs a selection of mostly familiar songs. For some of these, she finds a relaxed intimate mood. Others, such as 'La Vie En Rose' and 'If You Go Away' lend themselves to a dramatic interpretation and this is what they receive. If you are unfamiliar with this singer then this is a very good place to start. (Buy these now ...) By Bruce Crowther, author

You Don't Know Me 2004

..”You might even sense a hint of Marlene Dietrich in her artistry, a productive sense of drama, always tasteful, never over-wrought.” ..”A sensitive interpreter of songs.” Willard Jenkins, jazz writer

You Don't Know Me 2004

 

 

 .."The husky voiced singer, reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich.." .."With a vibrant style she delivers standards with conviction missing from many of today's jazz and contemporary singers." Jerry O'Brien, The Panache Experience Magazine

You Don't Know Me 2004

 

.."The charismatic, husky voiced Laiti makes clear that there’s nothing superficial about her heartfelt approach.” JAZZIZ, Alex Henderson

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set 1996

.."She has that fresh, je ne sais quoi.." .."Ms. Laiti has a romantic, sensual voice, with softness of the real jazz sound." Leslie Gourse, writer, author

Inspira 1991

..”I belive she has the qualities needed to make her one of the top vocalists in jazz. She has a beautiful voice and approaches the lyrics of a song with deep feeling and emotion. I might add these qualities are quite rare in today’s world.” Sheila Jordan, jazz singer

 ..”Such a voluptuous and deep contralto!” Fred Bouchard

You Don't Know Me 2004

 

..”Laiti’s voice is distinctive: a breathy, expressive alto voice.”  JazzImprov Magazine, Matt Snyder

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set 1996

..”Pleasant, soft jazz approach.” JazzTimes, Sunsh Stein

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set 1996

.."A clear, rich voice with fine timing." Donald Elfman, Koch Jazz

 .."The appeal of her rich alto voice is real." JazzTimes Bill Bennett

Inspira 1991

..”Sofia Laiti braves the U.S. jazz scene armed with an infectiously exotic lilt to her husky set of pipes.” ..”She artfully tells the story through voice." .."She makes the words count.” H&B Jazz Recording, Nancy Wade

Inspira 1991

.."Striking voice." ..”Her best work comes on ballads, delivered in a straightforward manner that conveys grace and eloquence. “ .."Sings with deep understanding of the lyrics and conveys innermost emotion."

Sid Gribetz, WKCR-FM, JazzTimes “

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set 1996

 

What critics and other artists have said about Sofia - Quotes (May 12, 2005)

Review by Alex Henderson Houston Person is a superb musician — a soulful tenor saxophonist with a big, attractive tone that isn't hard to recognize. Person has a track record, so when he produces an album, one wants to check it out. It was Person who, in 1995, produced Sofia Laiti's third album, The Midnight Sun Will Never Set, which the Finnish singer released on her own Midnight Sun label the following year. Person's presence is definitely a plus; in addition to providing his share of warm, soulful tenor solos, he helps guide a group of New York-based jazzmen that includes pianist James Weidman, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Mark Johnson. But the main attraction is Laiti, who is undeniably expressive on standards that range from "For Heaven's Sake" to "But Beautiful" and "I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me." Laiti — who handles ballads and up-tempo material equally well — is also appealing on Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" (a gem that many other jazz singers wouldn't think to record), the title track (a Quincy Jones song), and the Peggy Lee hit "Fever." Like Lee's original '50s recording, Laiti's version of "Fever" is downright sexy. However, Laiti brings a charisma of her own to the song. Although Laiti sings with a Scandinavian accent, she is understandable — and her accent proves to be a plus because it gives these performances a lot of character. All of the pieces fall into place nicely on The Midnight Sun Will Never Set, which is well worth searching for.

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set 1996

Alex Henderson - AMG (Oct 21, 1998)

Scopriremo poi l'originale, "ruvida" ed interessante voce della cantante americana (ma di origini finlandesi...) SOFIA LAITI, della quale ascolteremo un'originale, intenso e raro blues in...finlandese!: "Ranskalaiset Korot", scritto da Eric Lindstrom e tratto dal CD "You Don't Know Me" (nella foto in basso a destra). Chiuderemo con una simpatica "risposta italiana" che ci riporter?er circa 3 minuti all'epoca dello "swing italiano" del "dopoguerra".

You Don't Know Me 2004
Tavern On The Green (New York)
November 12, 1997

After becoming a mother a few years ago, singer Sofia Laiti became less visible on the New York club scene (although she did release her impressive CD, The Midnight Sun Will Never Set, independently in 1997).The Finnish immigrant's recent engagement at New York's Tavern On The Green marked her return to performing after a two-year hiatus, and as she approached the stage of the pricey tourist trap, Laiti was understandably nervous. But when Laiti, who was joined only by pianist James Weidman, opened with "Easy To Remember," her soulful charisma came through loud and clear. And she was no less confident on "Darn That Dream," "I Thought About You" and the sultry Peggy Lee hit "Fever." Thankfully, the lyrical Weidman (who recorded an enjoyable trio date, People Music for the Swiss TCB label) had plenty of room to solo.

Of course, The Tavern is primarily a restaurant rather than a jazz club, and Laiti's sets were heard by tourists more than seasoned jazz fans. One hopes that in the future, hardcore jazz audiences will again have a chance to enjoy Laiti's talents.