'Round the World
“‘Round the World (Slow Down)”
The musical chemistry between Jana Herzen and Charnett Moffett has been apparent since the two first played together more than a decade ago. Bass virtuoso Moffett had first approached guitarist and vocalist Herzen about recording for her Motéma label in 2007, which led to his signing and releasing albums for the Harlem-based imprint. After playing together, they discovered a sparkling synergy. In 2012, the pair released their first recording as a duo, Passion of a Lonely Heart, the sessions for which produced more material than they could fit on one album. The outtakes from that recording make up the duo’s second release, ’Round the World (Motéma). As opposed to the jazz-oriented material of the earlier recording, ’Round the World includes jazzy interpretations of some of Herzen’s non-jazz influences, encompassing songs written and/or performed by Joni Mitchell, Maria Muldaur, The Beatles, Roberta Flack, and even the Muppets (“Rainbow Connection”). Herzen also weaves in original songs based on her travels and experiences. One example, the album’s title track, is a smoldering blues Herzen says came to her in the middle of the night after she had returned from a tour through Japan, Bali and Australia. Moffett’s growling bass lines and guitar-like solo add another layer of emotional depth to Herzen’s sultry delivery.