Samara Joy’s music may let jazz Linger Awhile longer


Samara Joy’s Linger Awhile marks a young artist’s impressive entry to the world of Jazz

Niomi Nunez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

What does a 23-year-old know about jazz, let alone singing it? Well, apparently everything, because jazz musician Samara Joy sings with the same tender yearning and playfulness that is recognized amongst jazz icons. It is rare to hear about young jazz musicians that are actually worthy of the limelight they receive, but this isn’t the case for Joy. This young and talented musician is taking jazz listeners—and even Gen-Z—by storm with her beautiful, Grammy winning 10-track album, “Linger Awhile.” Originally from the Bronx, Joy grew up in a Gospel-singing family, so singing was always a part of her life, but Joy wasn’t introduced to jazz until she went to college to study music. From there, Joy’s life changed forever—the artist has released two albums in the past two years, the most recent one being “Linger Awhile.”  

Despite Joy being only 23 years old, her intonation is just as captivating as some of the jazz classics. Joy starts the album with a rendition of Sarah Vaughan’s “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” and it is enjoyable to say the least. Like successfully watching creamy noodles gather as you twirl your fork into a pasta dish, Joy’s vocals are effortlessly velvety and gather for a satiating bite—or in this case, sound. The sound, though reminiscent of older jazz pieces, becomes unique with Joy’s speedy riffs and runs that burn slowly.  Perhaps her ability to take something that is often described as “old” and make it feel fresh with her unique, modern flare is what attracts younger audiences.  

Joy’s song selection for this album is also something worth discussing. The songs on “Linger Awhile” are relatable to any generational group of listeners. Her vocals enhance the lyrics of these songs, which makes listening to the album a permeable experience even for those who are solely, auditorily evoked. On the album’s fourth track, Joy’s singing becomes livelier and makes the album a versatile listen. There is a swing not only in the instrumental, but also in Joy’s singing in “Sweet Pumpkin.” It’s a bouncy sound that becomes even more bubblier in the crescendo of a chorus.  These songs, though entirely different from pop-music, have sounds that resemble some of the more upbeat-music made today, attracting younger listeners. From the first track to the very last, Joy delivers vocal excellence and never disappoints.  


After listening to this album, the question “what does a 23-year-old know about singing jazz?” changes to “how does this 23-year-old know how to sing jazz so effortlessly?” The answer to this question lies in Joy’s character. Joy is, what some would say, the jazz genre personified. In some sense, jazz is compilation music, meaning the improvisation, polyrhythms, harmonies etc., associated with the genre originated elsewhere; and have been brought together to create a somewhat less sophisticated music type. This is not to say Joy lacks sophistication but it is to point out the connection between how she makes her music and who she is. In her album, Joy accompanied her former professors as well as major musicians in the industry, like guitarist Pasquale Grasso and drummer Kenny Washington. Joy’s decision reflects the very essence of Jazz, the genre is constantly integrating elements from those who inspired its unique sound, in the same way that Joy decided to incorporate those—her professors— who inspired her unique sound. 

 There is still much for Joy to learn; she is still very young and has a lot to learn, but her youth, as well as her incredible sound, has allowed her to attract younger listeners. As she progresses in the industry, Joy’s tone and sound will become richer, and her audience will expand because of that. For someone just getting started, Joy has captured the attention of many jazz fanatics—young and old— identifying herself as a force to be reckoned with.