Tawanda, Smile, Resonance ***

Bursting on to international jazz consciousness last year as a co-winner in the US of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition - the Sassy - here's the Las Cruces, New Mexico-born Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim making the next move on …

Published: 14 Nov 2022. Updated: 22 days.

Bursting on to international jazz consciousness last year as a co-winner in the US of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition - the Sassy - here's the Las Cruces, New Mexico-born Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim making the next move on this George Klabin produced release for Resonance - a label that has showcased very fine UK singer Polly Gibbons in recent years. Tawanda is with a starry band - guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Kevin Axt, saxophonist Gary Meek and alternating on piano Josh Nelson and Tamir Handelman. It's quite glossy overall, a bit too squeaky clean in parts - and Charlie Chapin's 'Smile' whether a cappella or not has been done to death in recent years as has Thad Jones' 'A Child Is Born'. But repertoire aside the singer contributes a persuasive energy to 'What A Little Moonlight Can Do' the pick of the early part of the album. Gary Meek's intro on Adolph Green, Betty Comden and Leonard Bernstein's 'Lucky To Be Me' - also covered on Anthony Strong's new album Easy Sailing - is a treat. And Tawanda comes completely into her own here. The piano accompaniment throughout Smile is excellent. A classic jazz vocals approach certainly veering much less successfully into the mainstream on 'Bring Back My Dreamer' and yet there is more than enough to be going on with and to enjoy especially if you already are into singers such as Nnenna Freelon.

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Eve Risser and the Red Desert Orchestra, Eurythmia, Clean Feed ****

Few records are as original in conception and overall effect achieved this year as Eurythmia - by times beautifully serene ('Soyayya') or choppily turbulent ('Sa'). The tidal wash of the music draws in thoughts of Gil Evans in historic jazz …

Published: 14 Nov 2022. Updated: 22 days.

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Few records are as original in conception and overall effect achieved this year as Eurythmia - by times beautifully serene ('Soyayya') or choppily turbulent ('Sa'). The tidal wash of the music draws in thoughts of Gil Evans in historic jazz thinking and of Vula Viel much more recently. For softness and lightness of air an amalgam of European and African musicians make transference magically across balafons, djembes and bara to meld with more common jazz instruments and so much else. While highly orchestral-sounding, the process Risser uses is to ''work orally because not everyone reads music'' and you certainly wouldn't know that unless you are told. Not an album where any one player stands out and that again is significant in the group think. What the musicians achieve is a blend that draws us in close. Eve Risser and the Red Desert Orchestra, photo: Marc Chesneau