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Most artists talk about the need to grow as musicians, but few do anything about it. Especially not on an album that comes hot on the heels of a hit.

After all, who’d risk shaking up a formula that just clicked?

One of the few to do so in recent memory was Pink, who debuted as a streetwise R&B singer only to rebrand herself as a full-on rocker for CD number two.

Now we can add to that risky list Ledisi.

The singer’s first major-label album, 2007’s “Lost and Found,” earned her a Best New Artist Grammy nod. She lost to Adele, but the nomination gave her a PR windfall you can’t buy. Given that, you’d think her new CD would nervously cling to the sound of her breakthrough.

Think again.

While Ledisi’s last album presented her as a jazz-leaning, vampy seductress (anointed with hints of R&B), the new “Turn Me Loose” transforms her into a no-nonsense soul yowler. It’s as if Cassandra Wilson woke up one day and decided she’d rather be Chaka Khan.

The difference flatters Ledisi no end. While her previous CD revealed a singer blessed with agile technique and a striking timbre, the relatively understated tone of that album held her back. Also, what some called “jazz” elements turned out to be just a nice way of saying those parts weren’t very catchy.

“Turn Me Loose” not only boasts far more fetching tunes, it’s got deeper grooves and vocals that raise the roof.

Read more here.

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