Songs, lyrics, the persuasiveness of the story-telling Nicki Leighton-Thomas voice, fine tenor work from Dave O'Higgins whose purple patch these last few years continues and very good on a 2022 release with Matt Bianco, very clean recording quality, kinetic guitar sonics. Landesmanian pianist quondam Oxcentrics tinkler in his salad days Simon Wallace, O'Hig, trumpeter Steve Waterman, bassist Alec Dankworth, drummer Roy Dodds and guitarist Paul Stacey are in the personnel. Waterman takes a pingingly pure starting solo call on 'Depravity'. A jazz cabaret supper club sort of setting is natural terroir if you imagined any of this live preferably in a set starting at about quarter to eleven in the evening the way Ronnie's used to operate before Sally Greene took over when the main act went on after several usually enjoyable hours of build-up. And that would be perfect in however earlier the way today Crazy Coqs, the Pheasantry and the Dean Street Pizza time things. Certainly the sensibility crosses over from the stage or the pages of a Fay Weldon or a Patricia Highsmith novel transposed from the Landesman core given the tough, not giving a stuff, vibrancy of the moods Leighton-Thomas conveys especially taking on the mantle of a femme fatale on the sambafied 'Overture to Corrupt and Deprave' to the jazz club without any loss in translation at all.
The swinging treatment of Tommy Wolf and Fran Landesman's 'This Little Love Of Ours' and Wallace and Landesman's 'The Girl You Can't Forget' roused us most. Above all what a grown-up, literary, sensual and authoritative return to the recording studio from Leighton-Thomas who remains a mysterious presence on the UK jazz scene and that mystery tantalises that bit more. Linger long.