Two songs are streaming ahead of the Heart of Mine release drawn from this Claire Martin-produced collection, one a 1970s-like number 'Pull You Back' featuring Sara Colman and the other deliriously upbeat album closer 'They're Playing Our Song' sung by Gwyneth Herbert.
A micro-galaxy of UK jazz singer royalty is involved on this feelgood album where words matter as they should but rarely do and who luxuriate to interpret the songs of theatre composer and jazz pianist Ross Lorraine, known for his work with jazz flautist Sarah Chaplin. Claire, Liane Carroll, Ian Shaw and Scottish star Luca Manning also feature backed by the highly intuitive rhythm section of pianist Rob Barron, guitarist Mike Walker, bass guitar don Laurence Cottle and drummer Elliott Henshaw. Backing vocals where applicable are by Martin, Herbert and Colman as per 'Play On'.
There is a strong jazz sensibility on the swinging Claire feature 'The Name of the Game' and that certain vibration sits alongside a period 70s mood held up in a parallel running and provided by Colman. Tearjerking is kept strictly to a minimum. Everyone will have their own highlights. There is certainly a feast available to choose from. Mine are the songs 'Play On' and 'They're Playing Our Song' featuring Gwyneth and those involving Luca (the philosophical surrogate requiem 'We Will Sing Again') especially.
The Lorraine lyrics throughout have a directness and strip away all tautology. 'Body Language' has an ambivalent edge that mischievously satirises smouldering jazz singer cliché and reclaims it in the protagonist's own terms bluesed up and fabulously scatted over by Claire with deftly deadpan response levered in by Mike Walker as a foil. For the ultimate bravura statement and tenderness trap Liane provides that frisson on the staggeringly beautiful anthemic title track 'Heart of Mine'. As for Barron he is very empathetic and best heard accompanying Liane on 'The Waiting Game.' SG