Jazz Journal (Best of 2008 Albums)

Georgia Mancio’s CD, the culmination of two years’ planning and working with her current group, is a winner. A healthy mix of jazz standards, Latin compositions, the latter sung in Spanish and Portuguese, presents a programme of jazz singing, in the tradition but with a unique, personal approach to the material. Listen to Georgia’s brisk, swinging reading of My Heart Stood Still and then, for complete contrast, Gracias a la Vida in Spanish. Miss Mancio provides a moving, heartfelt version of Where is Love with sympathetic background support from pianist John Pearce. This is jazz flavoured ballad singing of a very high order.

I do wish more jazz vocalists, or those that aspire to be so, would record Dameron’s On A Misty Night instead of the same, tired old chestnuts. With Georgie Fame’s lyrics, neatly arranged by John Pearce, this is a string vocal reading by Georgia, faithfully shadowed by Lockrane’s lambent flute. Best of all, this is a genuine jazz vocal performance, with Ms Mancio singing Fame’s lyrics and putting her own, unique interpretation on them. This is the vocal jewel in a crown of fine jazz singing with the band making a strong contribution to its success.

There is plenty of contrast here with the varied Italian songs, the standards and the unlikely but successful reading of David Bowie’s Life on Mars, sung in Brazilian Portuguese. Another highlight in a stimulating is this reading of Never Will I Marry, again with a very strong, pure jazz vocal with power backing from Messrs Pearce, Green, Lockrane and Ohm. This is one of the best vocal albums I have heard in a long time and it is highly recommended to all enthusiasts.