14th February, 2008

CLARE TEAL has been worshiped by Jamie Cullum, Paul Gambaccini, Michael Buble; even Sir Michael Parkinson. This, the eighth album from “one of the best vocal talents to energy from the UK in a long, long while”, continues much in the same vain as her previous releases; a collection of well selected covers combined with skillfully written new material to create a natural balance across the 49 minutes of many different moods and jazz styles.

clareOf course, Clare Teal will be venerated primarily in terms of her voice. But this isn’t what impresses me about this album; I’ve heard many great jazz vocalists, from Nat King Cole to Ella Fitzgerald, and yes, Norah Jones, (and I’d put her in the same category as those) so a beautiful voice for me is a necessity for jazz vocal. It’s the quality of the musicianship which impresses me here. This is jazz played with the utmost passion for the genre. ‘Breaking Up is hard to Do’ is performed with a rare graceful elegance, squeezing every bit of emotion out of each note. The re-interpretation of ‘The Very Thought of You’ actually sounds better than the original, its wonderful piano solo showcasing just how good this girl is.

She can do upbeat and bouncy too, and for someone who prefers his music to be melancholy at the least, these tracks would normally only get one play. However, they are conveyed with such a joyous innocence that they warm even the coldest of musical hearts. ‘Get on It Sam’, one of her own works, is happier than a manic clown on laughing gas and swings like a rope bridge in a hurricane. It’s brilliant, as is the 20s Dixie groove of ‘Cheek to Cheek’. In fact, this is the perfect place to start for any jazz-newbie, as everything is covered here. There aren’t many jazz albums that are not only an accurate summary of the jazz world, but are also accessible enough to not turn the listener off. A joy to listen to.

8/10

Published in Student Direct, February 2008

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