Jazz, ese Ruido (Spain)

It was in 2013 that singer Georgia Mancio and pianist Alan Broadbent began their relationship with a couple of concerts in the UK. A year later they started writing songs together. Now, accompanying the release of their second album as a duo, entitled Quiet Is The Star, a book is published, beautifully illustrated, which collects the 33 songs they have composed together, including those that have not been released on these two albums.

Alan Broadbent needs no introduction. We have talked about his records on more than one occasion here. Winner of two Grammys, he remains unstoppable in his 70s, publishing even more than one album per year. We met Georgia Mancio, a multi-award-winning British singer-songwriter, through her recording with Broadbent in their first studio collaboration (Songbook, 2017). Together they fly over the possibilities of the songs with serenity and squeezing all the expressiveness of the lyrics and keys, in an intimate kind of concert that makes us want to be in a dark club, with a glass of wine in hand, listening to them closely.

Broadbent is not only a born leader (perfect in Trio In Motion) or a tireless improviser on his solo piano records (Heart to Heart), but he is also an imaginative and versatile accompanist capable of competing with the beauty of Georgia Mancio’s lyrics, equal to equal.

I think of that child, all her thoughts running wild with exhilaration,

and the passing of time’s liberation.

All I wanted to hold, all my fears to unfold,

as the nights are turning cold and my spirit’s not so bold:

you will listen to me, take my side, let me see all the things that I still can be,

and remember all my life.

(“All My Life”)

The songs, with their poetic and melancholic lyrics, have a distant aroma of Sondheim in their rhythm (“All My Life”, “I Can See You Passing By”), Rodgers & Hart, and Joni Mitchell in their poetry. But the important thing here is the way in which the piano and voice play at singing to each other’s soul.

The lyrics speak of universal feelings, from childhood to love, freedom, death, sadness … feelings that are as simple as they are complicated to live, although one does not perceive their complexity at the moment in which one lives them. This apparent naivety drags the piano into its most beautiful form, not without syncopation and blues, but lyrical, in the tone of Mancio’s lyrics. A delight to savor slowly, in a quiet place whilst enjoying the illustrations by Simon Manfield that accompany the book and also appear on both discs.

The book is not just a book of letters. It includes the sheet music of all the songs … in case you are good at reading music and want to sing it, as well as illustrative comments by Broadbent and Mancio on the origin of the songs that will allow you to enter the intimacy of the ideas that gave birth to these songs … and the fortunate conjunction of these two talents.