Splash Point Records SPR003CD
A winner of two awards at the BBC Jazz Awards 2005 both for the 'Best of Jazz' and 'Best Vocalist' this CD more than demonstrates why singer and pianist Liane Carroll is held in such high esteem by fellow singers and instrumentalists. Her previous album 'Billy No Mates', featuring exclusively voice and piano, attracted respectable sales and it would seem that this wonderful showcase of her considerable musical talents with a fine band should bring her wider recognition.
The excitement begins with the first track: a samba version of 'That Old Black Magic' a rhythmic vamp under-layering the exuberant vocal chorus leading to a Tania Maria-like scat and piano improvisation followed by a lively electric bass solo from partner Roger Carey - the whole performance deftly driven by Greg Leppard's drums. Contrastingly on the next track Liane sings her heart out on the mournful Tom Waits ballad 'The Briar and the Rose'. The album's material is eclectic ranging from Broadway standards such as a bluesy 'I Only Have Eyes for You' and a swinging 'They Can't Take That Away from Me' to songs written by the best of the singer songwriters of the past forty years such as Lennon and McCartney, Laura Nyro, Janis Ian and Carole King, through to Liane's own energetically affirmative 'Three Sheets to the Wind'. The album is full of delights such as the way Liane takes no prisoners as she tears in to Nyro's 'California Shoeshine Boys', Jobim's 'How Insensitive' featuring legendary saxophonist Bobby Wellins' luxuriant tenor weaving over the bossa nova accompaniment of guitarist John Parricelli, fellow singer Ian Shaw spurring Liane to greater vocal heights on their duet 'You've Got a Friend' lifting it far away from its 'camp fire sing-along' associations, and then an apt closer as Liane solely and soulfully accompanies herself on the Fender Rhodes whilst she sings the great Trenet chanson 'I Wish You Love'. This album represents one of our top singer/pianists at her very best. Paul Pace