Bebop Spoken Here

GIJF invariably holds a myriad of delights and this year is no exception. Given the variety of styles on offer, it is not only unfair to single out one concert above the rest but nigh on impossible. Nevertheless, there is one concert that I simply can’t miss – the one that the four musicians on this CD take part in on Sunday evening, April 2.

The musical partnership between Broadbent and Mancio is indeed a ‘special relationship’. Broadbent’s compositions and his sympathetic accompaniment; Mancio’s lyrics and her winsome voice; the ingredients spell a recipe for a unique collaboration.

The lyrics are about love lost, and love found. Romantic love, maternal love. Of hopes and regrets; memories of happier times, the emotions that everyone experiences at one time or another.The voice is one to send shivers down your spine, but not in a bad way. Shirley Horn’s the only other contemporary singer I can think of who had those qualities.

Broadbent’s compositions are an eye opener as is his piano playing. Little did I think, back in 1970, – I’m sure I heard him with Woody Herman at Newcastle City Hall – that he would become not only an all-time piano great but also an outstanding composer. That he is both is beyond dispute here.

Olie Hayhurst and Dave Ohm hover unobtrusively but not ineffectually behind voice and piano whilst much of the credit for a faultless album must go to producer Andrew Cleyndert.

The release date is given as April 23 but I’m sure they will have advance copies at Sage Gateshead on April 2 and at Ronnie’s the following night.

If we awarded stars to albums this one would rate a whole galaxy.