NYJO, She Said, NYJO Records ***

A recording made in 2019 at Air in Hampstead and featuring a 24 piece orchestra all aged between 18 and 25 plus guests including Norma Winstone, Georgina Jackson, Josephine Davies, Shirley Smart, Laura Jurd, Issie Barratt, Nikki Iles and Yazz …

Published: 12 Sep 2022. Updated: 49 days.

A recording made in 2019 at Air in Hampstead and featuring a 24 piece orchestra all aged between 18 and 25 plus guests including Norma Winstone, Georgina Jackson, Josephine Davies, Shirley Smart, Laura Jurd, Issie Barratt, Nikki Iles and Yazz Ahmed.

The more adventurous and poetic the material is the more successful it becomes. So the inclusion of the more trad-like Lil Hardin and Billie Holiday pieces did not work so well given that the album comes across more as a modernistic collection than a traditional deep dive.

However highlights are fairly plentiful and certainly the luminous 'Wild Oak' featuring Nikki Iles right at the beginning stands out above all for the sensitivity of the ensemble's establishment of mood and texture and rewards frequent replay. SG

Out on 7 October

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Nicki Leighton-Thomas, The Secret of Silence, 33 Jazz ****

Track of the day and new in the 1 luv spot. A welcome return after a long absence to experience the highly playful voice of singer Nicki Leighton-Thomas and as you'd expect given her pedigree as a Fran Landesman disciple the singer's way with …

Published: 12 Sep 2022. Updated: 2 months.

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Track of the day and new in the 1 luv spot.

A welcome return after a long absence to experience the highly playful voice of singer Nicki Leighton-Thomas and as you'd expect given her pedigree as a Fran Landesman disciple the singer's way with lyrics set in a stripped back ostensibly acoustic jazz milieu is outstanding as is Simon Wallace's touch in piano accompaniment. Dave O'Higgins just about steals the show with his soprano saxophone touches but knows how to step back and Leighton-Thomas carves out more than enough space for the instrumentalists in a setting that allows the rhythmical urgency of guitarist Paul Stacey to inject significant pace. The track whets the appetite a whole deal for the full album out on 30 September. SG

Nicki Leighton-Thomas, top. Photo: Emma Hardy