Vanisha Gould and Chris McCarthy, Life's a Gig, Fresh Sound New Talent ***1/2

Intimate, softly unfurling vocals and duetting piano is the concept behind Life's a Gig for the main part with a little viola added on a few tracks. While pianist Chris McCarthy is familiar to readers of these pages down the years Vanisha Gould …

Published: 14 Jan 2024. Updated: 44 days.

Intimate, softly unfurling vocals and duetting piano is the concept behind Life's a Gig for the main part with a little viola added on a few tracks. While pianist Chris McCarthy is familiar to readers of these pages down the years Vanisha Gould isn't - she is a singer influenced by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone among many others who came to New York approaching a decade ago from Simi Valley in California. Classics certainly find a place on the album and you can hear Holiday's influence on her voice a good deal. The duo have been playing together some seven years and certainly their strong rapport shows. The only track choice we didn't like so much was the cover of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene', more the song in the context than anything else. But Gould's lyrics on 'Aisha' set to McCoy Tyner's Together album melody work well and her strength as a writer certainly emerges elsewhere on her own 'Fall in Love With Me In Fall' begun by one of McCarthy's best passages on the whole album. With Valentine's Day just around the corner Life's a Gig seems ideal for jazz radio stations looking for new treatments in the classic mould - and a voice that becomes more persuasive with each play.

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Rotem Sivan, Dream Louder, Sonder House ***1/2

Compelling guitar playing here from Israeli player Rotem Sivan - his style landing somewhere between John Scofield and Peter Bernstein - on an album that twists and turns from space laden pastoral ('The Tree') to bluesy down home funkiness like …

Published: 13 Jan 2024. Updated: 44 days.

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Compelling guitar playing here from Israeli player Rotem Sivan - his style landing somewhere between John Scofield and Peter Bernstein - on an album that twists and turns from space laden pastoral ('The Tree') to bluesy down home funkiness like you'll find on 'The Hamish', this latter one named for bassist Hamish Smith, or the feverishness of 'Dragon' with its drum 'n' bass underpinning. No newcomer Sivan has been making records for more than a decade. He has drummer Miguel Russell, vocalist Sami Stevens and whistler - yes you read that right - Luke Krafka with him here in something of a novel twist. Originals sit alongside covers of the Beatles' 'Blackbird', Appalachian folk tune 'West Virginia Mine Disaster' and Kurt Weill's 'Mack the Knife.' Seek this fine, at times quirky, record out pronto. Rotem Sivan photo, Dani Barbieri