Simply Jazz Talk (UK)
Quiet Is The Star is the follow-up album to critically acclaimed Songbook, released in 2017, by Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent. As with the previous release the music is composed by the pianist Alan Broadbent with Georgia Mancio providing the lyrics and vocals:
“Every once in a while, melodic inspirations would pop into my head uninvited, expressing my inner feelings with just notes and chords but without words… That is until they met Georgia Mancio”.
Their partnership goes back to 2013 and has been described as “one of the most formidable song writing partnerships off the 21st century” (Jazz Views). So, is Quiet Is The Star just more of the same, simply carrying off where Songbook ended? In terms of the quality of the writing, both melodically and lyrically, yes, it is. In terms of production values, yes, it is – producer Andrew Cleyndert and album artist Simon Manfield are common to both albums. The two albums differ in the depth of personal resonance in the writing and performance, and that difference is palpable.
Quiet Is The Star features nine original tracks that explore reminiscences and emotional ties that we all create during our lifetimes. Throughout the album there is poignancy, wistfulness, loss, dedication, and messages of hope. ‘Let Me Whisper To Your Heart’, for instance, was inspired by a letter left to Georgia by her late mother; ‘All My Life’ a tender dedication to her sister and ‘When You’re Gone From Me’, initially conceived by Alan at just 16 years old, now finally complete with this most poignant lyric, 55 years later.
Where there are silhouettes of associations lost (‘I Can See You Passing By’, ‘Night After Night’), there are others waiting to be found (‘If My Heart Should Love Again’, ‘If I Think Of You’). Even the touching ‘Tell The River’, dedicated to Sandra Bland (one of many Black Americans killed by police authorities), is defiantly and gracefully countered by its message of peace and solidarity. And the elegiac title track, ‘Quiet Is The Star’, aptly reminds us of the fragility of human existence: “we’re only travelling, from first to last”.
Quiet Is The Star is a reflective album that should be reflected upon. The lyrics are so beautiful and thought provoking that they need time to be absorbed. Georgia Mancio’s vocals are stunning throughout, the phrasing elegant and purposeful. The musicianship of pianist Alan Broadbent is sublime and adds to the light and shade that permeates this album.
There is a book that accompanies the release of Quiet Is The Star and features all of the thirty-three songs that Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent have collaborated on. The ninety-four-page volume is presented with the elegance and expanse of an art book, with clear lead sheets (in standard female keys), Simon Manfield’s evocative artwork from both their albums (Songbook and Quiet Is The Star), photos and song by song descriptions.