Amikaelya‘s latest release, titled ‘Being in Love,’ is a collection of ten tracks that showcase an artists truly undergoing a Renaissance as she melds her Jazz influence with her immensely eclectic musical background.

Amikaelya was born in Cincinnati as Amy Marie Gaston and equipped with a musical pedigree passed down from her father, percussionist Alonzo Dubois Gaston; an artist and academic that had most notably worked with the legendary James Brown. Amikaeyla’s exploits are not just musical, however. She received a bachelors degree in neuroscience from Wesleyan University and is currently in the process of completing her PhD in clinical psychology.

Beyond her impressive academic accomplishments stands ‘Being in Love,’ which highlights the singer’s life as a humanitarian and activist, pressing for social change.

‘Being in Love,’ which features a number of guest musicians including bassist Esperanza Spalding and poet/singer/percussionist Linda Tillery, is a peaceful mélange of musical selections that range from the eerily romantic string arrangement of the album’s opening track; a lounge style number titled “Dreamer,” to the childhood nostalgia of “Hambone,” which features a blues inspired spoken word duet between Amikaelya and Linda Tillery.

A stand-out feature of the album is its diverse mixture of original compositions and covers. While “Midnight Sun,” an instrumental standard first composed by vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and later covered in a vocal interpretation by Ella Fitzgerald, appears perfectly at home in the album, the politically charged medley of “Takin it to the streets/Parane E,” offers powerful diversity in its unique combination of traditional Brazilian standard “Aprane e” and the hit song by American pop group the Doobie brothers, “Takin’ it to the streets.” The song is a true highlight as it manages to convey a powerful message of social action, “takin it to the streets,” with a Brazilian standard that addresses slavery, an issue that can be seen as the foundation for the song’s call to action.

“Takin it to the streets/Parane E,” offer a noteworthy representation of the album as a whole by addressing social distress and endless hope of truly ‘Being in Love.’

The Jazz Line Rating - 3 Stars