Literary and ethereal – the poetry of John Masefield and Robert Browning mingle with the words, music and voice of singer Emily Wright – this Bristol band have been picking up plenty of positive word of mouth over the last few years and Meeting at Night, their debut, is proof positive of all this buzz.
Wright is joined by trumpeter Nick Malcom, pianist Dale Hambridge, bassist Will Harris and drummer Mark Whitlam, with guests saxophonist Jason Yarde and organist Dan Moore popping up on a couple of tracks each.
Recorded last year in a London studio Moonlight Saving Time bridge the soundscape mapped out by modern day bands such as Blue-Eyed Hawk or an eclectic singer such as Gwyneth Herbert on the one hand and on the other by classic bands from the past such as Azimuth, Wright clearly under the spell of experimental jazz vocalisations but also alert to a refreshing sense of left field melodic pop. It’s good to see some interesting choices of poppier material with Calvin Harris’ ‘I’m Not Alone’ nestled among the more literary fare.
Imaginative and full of ideas Moonlight Saving Time don’t fall into any genre trap to restrict what they’re doing and have managed the difficult task of matching vocals to instrumental jazz as part of a unified sound. Wright’s voice is very atmospheric and unmannered, folky even on ‘Sea Fever’, and she’s clearly a singer with a great deal of talent both as a performer and as a composer/lyricist.
If you’re wondering what brand new direction British jazz is going in at the moment, Moonlight Saving Time are torch bearers as a reliable guiding light.
‘Sea Fever’, with words by John Masefield and music by John Ireland, arranged by Dale Hambridge, the fifth track from Meeting at Night, is above