Youn Sun Nah, Elles, Warner Music Arts ***1/2

Intimacy is a big factor on Elles in the pared back setting the iconic South Korean singer Youn Sun Nah finds in the arrangements of this classic female-centred songbook album in duo with pianist Jon Cowherd. Another big factor is familiarity …

Published: 5 Jan 2024. Updated: 53 days.

Intimacy is a big factor on Elles in the pared back setting the iconic South Korean singer Youn Sun Nah finds in the arrangements of this classic female-centred songbook album in duo with pianist Jon Cowherd. Another big factor is familiarity because the songs are so instantly so - 'Feeling Good,' 'My Funny Valentine,' 'Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,' 'Killing Me Softly With His Song' and so much more. That last aspect frustrated me a bit but I have always liked the singer's voice and it's the voice rather than the song that is most vital with her. In the wake of the Laufey phenomenon of the last few years gen Z jazz newcomers who like the Laufey voice certainly will find a similar spirit and even a soul mate here. Cowherd is ideal - I liked his role most on the cover of Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit.' SG

Out on 26 January

Tags: reviews

Stella Bass, Look for the Silver Lining ****

Oh, so very impressive classic mainstream-jazz vocals here from Dublin jazz singer Stella Bass. Any album that begins with Stephen Sondheim's 'Being Alive' performed down the years by among many others Cleo Laine, Barbra Streisand and Cyrille Aimée …

Published: 4 Jan 2024. Updated: 54 days.

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Oh, so very impressive classic mainstream-jazz vocals here from Dublin jazz singer Stella Bass. Any album that begins with Stephen Sondheim's 'Being Alive' performed down the years by among many others Cleo Laine, Barbra Streisand and Cyrille Aimée is all right any day of the week. And the album certainly keeps up the momentum achieved by this tasteful opener throughout. Accompanied sensitively by fine pianist Johnny Taylor and his trio, with Barry Donohue on double bass and Dominic Mullan on drums, album guest spots include appearances by saxist Michael Buckley and flugel player Ronan Dooney, the selections are well-chosen vintage standards ('Old Devil Moon,' 'Pure Imagination,' etc) but the most appealing track against such stiff competition is a song that Stella herself co-wrote - 'Still' - that fits the very grown-up mood perfectly. If you are into singers such as Claire Martin or Honor Heffernan then you will feel right at home.

Out in February. Stella plays Sugar Club in Dublin on 3 Feb and Scott's in Belfast on the 9th