London Jazz News

Just face it, American Song Book fans: many of the best of today’s singers have much more eclectic tastes than Broadway hits of the thirties, no matter how wonderful they were. Georgia Mancio‘s brilliantly curated ReVoice! Festivals, featuring artists as varied as down-home groovers like Rebecca Parris and Gregory Porter to more innovative artists like Norma Winstone and Maria Pia de Vito, reflect her own musical philosophy perfectly, and her new album Live at ReVoice! recorded at London’s Dean Street Pizza Expres s over three festivals from 2012-2014 captures some of her own first-set contributions with a dozen different accompanists perfectly, so brilliant are the sounds captured by Luc Saint Martin and subsequently mixed and mastered by Andy Cleyndert.

From the magnificent, stentorian sound of Cleyndert’s bass on the opening bars of Sting’s haunting Fragile to Ian Shaw’s closing farewell at the end of the final track, David Bowie’s When I Live My Dream (all the more poignant in the light of his subsequent death) each and every one of Mancio’s duo collaborations holds the attention: bassists, pianists and on one track, The Things We Did Last Summer, complete with whistling, the sensitive lines of Colin Oxley‘s guitar.

Her duet with Italian accordionist Maurizio Minardi is, for me, surprisingly affecting when she sings La Strada Di Notte in one of her several languages, Italian, reminding us that the art of song is possibly her number one priority at this time. Not that there isn’t any overt jazz in this set. Her hundred-miles-an-hour joust with bassist Michael Janisch on Just In Time, with scat and trading fours, probably worked better when you were present rather than reflected on in the tranquillity of your front room, but Just Friends brings out a more aggressive side to pianist Robert Mitchell‘s personality which means her jazz soul is still the dominant factor in her own musical DNA. In this bag, for me her version of the Turrentine/ Hendricks Sugar is the one, with electric bass genius Laurence Cottle– the way she changes pitch over a single syllable after Cottle’s solo without over-the-top melisma is a delight and somewhere in there is just the faintest reference to the great O’Day. So much good stuff here, but my favourite track is Paul Simon’s I Do It For Your Love, which, surprisingly, does sound like a classic American standard, with pianist Nikki Iles in absolutely ravishing form – you can hear the applause she gets, even down in the mix. Wonderful.

Presented in one of those lovely digipak cases on Roomspin Records and with an excellent liner note by our best writer on songs and singers, Peter Quinn, this is, altogether, an excellent piece of work and a fitting record of tremendous endeavour.