Out of Dust Laila Biali
- 2The Monolith05:14
- 3Glass House04:56
- 4Wendy's Song04:39
- 6Alpha Waves04:09
- 7Au Pays De Cocagne04:12
- 8Take Me to the Alley05:23
- 9The Baker's Daughter05:24
- 10Broken Vessels05:35
- 11Take the Day Off03:41
Info for Out of Dust
For nearly every major triumph—a highly acclaimed return to jazz, winning the JUNO Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, touring the world—the singer-songwriter has faced a private debilitating crisis. In just a few short years, Biali lost a close friend, mourned a family member, and dealt with health challenges of her own. It was a period of change and heartache—but it was also a season of great inspiration and hope. The result is Biali’s deeply personal new album, Out of Dust.
“These new songs took shape as I processed my own feelings of doubt and loss,” Biali reveals. “I believe that nothing is wasted, that even life's greatest trials can produce something meaningful, if only to make us more empathetic to the struggles of those around us.”
This hard-won optimism is apparent in the music. Instead of giving into the darkness, Out of the Dust finds Biali luxuriating in the light. Co-produced by Biali and her husband, Ben Wittman, the album is a celebration of life; warm and uplifting even as it confronts her recent challenges (and the current political climate!) head-on.
The political is personal on the brassy album opener, “Revival.” Transforming global tumult into an inspiring call-to-arms, she sings with the clear-eyed confidence of a warrior, “Come on down / There’s a fire underground!” This fervor animates the entire album, even its quieter, more personal moments:
“Wendy’s Song,” a piano ballad dedicated to the friend she lost, turns the details of a single life into a powerful epic; “Glass House,” which she co-wrote with her husband, frankly addresses the after-effects of a family member’s struggle with mental health issues; “Take the Day Off” bluntly acknowledges the reality of healing with Biali singing that it’s OK to “pull the sheets over your head” and “unwind” when you need to. Even “Take Me To The Alley,” the album’s sole cover, holds special meaning for Biali: she sang an ethereal version of the Gregory Porter song at her friend’s memorial.
In addition to contributions from Biali’s husband, Out of the Dust features multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including vocalist Lisa Fisher, saxophonists John Ellis and Godwin Louis, drummer Larnell Lewis, and trombonist Alan Ferber, who composed all the horn arrangements. The album’s collaborative atmosphere led to “Au pays de Cocagne,” Biali’s first French co-write, which was created with francophone singer Sonia Johnson.
“There's a line from a song by the indie gospel group, Gungor, that has become like an anthem to me,” Biali says. “‘He makes beautiful things out of dust.’ That's where the title for the album comes from, and as a songwriter and musician, my ultimate intention and hope is to spread a little more love.”
Laila Biali, piano & vocals
Glenn Patscha, organ
Rich Brown, electric bass
George Koller, acoustic bass
Larnell Lewis, drums
Ben Wittman, drums & percussion
Godwin Louis, soprano saxophone
John Ellis, tenor saxophone & clarinet
Mike “Maz” Maher, trumpet
Remy Le Boeuf, alto saxophone & flute
Alan Ferber, trombone
Produced by Ben Wittman & Laila Biali
Award-winning Canadian pianist and vocalist, Laila Biali, has been garnering world-wide recognition for her music which she has performed at prestigious venues including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, and Carnegie Hall. She has toured with GRAMMY award winners Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported international icon, Sting.
"She is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly." (Sting)
Her studio recording, Tracing Light, received a JUNO nomination in 2011 for “Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year”, and her follow-up album, Live in Concert, was given an enthusiastic four-star review and named one of the “Best Albums of 2013” by DownBeat Magazine.
In 2015, Laila released her first album of entirely original music, House of Many Rooms – an indie-pop project featuring Lisa Fischer (Rolling Stones, 20 Feet From Stardom), Jo Lawry (Sting, Paul Simon), Alan Hampton (Robert Glasper), and the Toronto Mass Choir.
Expanding on her unique “ability to meld traditional jazz with contemporary pop so effortlessly that neither style seems out of place on the same record” (Spinner Magazine), Laila is currently set to release a new album of original songs alongside covers of David Bowie, Coldplay and more.