Though Macy Gray is a multi-platinum/Grammy award winning pop artist, she thinks of herself as a jazz singer. Performing with jazz bands is how she got her start, and it’s what Gray does on her new Chesky Records release “Stripped”.
She brings that intimate, late-night feel to “Stripped”, opening the album with the subtly searing new tune “Annabelle” and turning “I Try” into a glimmering study in muted guitar, anchored by an authoritative upright bass part. It’s one of five previously recorded songs that Gray and an ace band reinterpret. “Sweet Baby” becomes taut and urgent, “Slowly” unfolds into a slow-burner, “The First Time” has a torchy elegance and “She Ain’t Right for You” bobs along on an airy reggae backbeat.
“Stripped” is Gray’s ninth studio album. She has released seven studio albums since her three times platinum debut, “On How Life Is”, including a 2012 collection of Stevie Wonder songs, “Talking Book”; and her most recent, “The Way”, in 2014. In addition, Gray has landed roles in movies including “Training Day”, “Idlewild” and “Shadowboxer”.