The Melody Gardot style is dark, less extravagantly possessive of a Piaf-like enchantment that nevertheless hovers in the mind however insubstantially that then morphs to float sensuously via a curiously individual La Gardot twang towards a Patsy Cline-like atmosphere and then back deep into a world that sits there as shimmering and meltingly as a Lady Day.
On this souvenir summary of a record Live In Europe (Decca ****), which was released earlier this month, her band is allowed to jazz improvise – has to, more like it, in the DNA of the arranging.
Recorded on tour from 2012-2016 it is a decade since Worrisome Heart when she first surfaced. 2009’s My One And Only Thrill went into the stratosphere. Of all her records it was Currency of Man on which gospel soaked ‘Morning Sun’, above, the subtle underlying rhythmic hint transitioning figure from the double bass around the 7 minute 20 seconds mark of this absorbing version that leads into the blithely spiritual Mbube-hinting free form vocal response, also appeared. Pick of a highly captivating album among a number of plums is an elegiac ‘The Rain’ given the way the band run and run and the singer soars.
Blue Note do deal: They partner with Deutsche Grammophon in America and Canada to put the Nordic noir of Danish singer songwriter Agnes Obel out there.
The Obel style is certainly of appeal to even the most casual Kate Bush fan.
Don Was, Blue Note president, says: “Agnes is a profoundly imaginative and soulful artist. All of us at Blue Note Records are honoured and thrilled about the opportunity to present her music to US audiences. I’m really looking forward to hearing her new music and am certain that whatever she creates next will emanate from an inspired, honest and unique place.”
Choice names of interest for Boomtown include Maribou State, Bilal, Jah Wobble and The Invaders of the Heart, Zara McFarlane and Sampa the Great while Gorillaz, Ben Harper, Jimmy Cliff and Morcheeba have already been announced by the Matterley Estate, Winchester located festival.
Returning collective Nubiyan Twist, Blue Lab Beats and Norwich’s finest the mighty Mammal Hands, above at the Jazz Cafe, Camden Town, are also a summertime pick. Speakers this year include Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party. Dates 9-12 August / WEBSITE Pic, marlbank.
The catalogue of Stan Tracey’s ReSteamed Records: The Stan Tracey Quartet Under Milk Wood: Jazz Suite; The Stan Tracey Big Band Alice in Jazz Land; Stan Tracey Orchestra At the Appleby Jazz Festival; Stan Tracey & Bobby Wellins Tracey/Wellins Play Monk; Stan Tracey & Keith Tippett Supernova; Ben Webster & Stan Tracey Soho Nights Vol. 1; Stan Tracey Octet The Early Works; Stan Tracey Quartet Senior Moment; Stan Tracey Octet The Later Works; Stan Tracey Soundcheck; The Stan Tracey Quartet A Child's Christmas: Jazz Suite; Ben Webster & Stan Tracey Soho Nights Vol. 2; and Stan Tracey Quintet The Flying Pig will be made available on all digital platforms including iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and Amazon MP3/Music Unlimited on 16 February.
Tracey, who died in 2013 at the age of 86 commanded huge respect during his lifetime and enduringly beyond it, was house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club during the 1960s and famously during that same decade released a jazz suite inspired by Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.
Regarded widely as a classic album and the first release by ReSteamed run by Stan’s son drummer Clark Tracey, the author of new book The Godfather of British Jazz: The Life and Music of Stan Tracey, it is primus inter pares among the albums. Listen, above.