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Lizz Wright marks a National Day of Racial Healing 

The jazz and gospel vocalist performs at the Mahalia Jackson Theater Jan. 16

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Noah Bonaparte Pais

Lizz Wright's got something that needs saying. The last and lone original song on her 2017 album Grace (Concord), "All the Way Here," closes a remarkable plea for inclusiveness and peace winning out over the easier relief valves of distance and outrage. Wright, a subterranean-voiced, soon-to-be 38-year-old product of generations of Georgia ministers, gets there by converging parallel roads, connecting her spiritual past with the sensual, sensational present. She covers Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Singing in My Soul" one track after consecrating "Seems I'm Never Tired Lovin' You" — penned by Aretha Franklin's kid sister Carolyn but presided over by Nina Simone — with a standing-room gospel choir and organ, "that sound fresh out of church." Bob Dylan ("Every Grain of Sand") and Ray Charles ("What Would I Do Without You") cross paths on the way in and out of Sunday service. Allen Toussaint's "Southern Nights" and the sacred standard "Stars Fell on Alabama" sound like Broadway South show tunes from the Great Beyond, and k.d. lang drops a psalm-worthy couplet via "Wash Me Clean": "My desire carries no shame / My will harbors no pain." It all seems to have been compiled for this very occasion, a local recognition of the second annual National Day of Racial Healing, at which Wright is the featured artist. She's committed to tape the feeling that love not only should persevere, it has to — something that, now more than ever, needs hearing too. Alexey Marti opens and Hal Clark MCs. Free admission. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16; Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, 1419 Basin St., (504) 525-1052;


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