Debra Milne Jazz

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Debra's CD and Gig Reviews


Posted by gabzas331 on March 12, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Norma Winstone – voice; Klaus Gesing - bass clarinet, soprano saxophone; Glauco Venier – piano; Helge Andreas Norbakken - percussion; Mario Brunello - violoncello, violoncello piccolo.

British singer Norma Winstone has been performing jazz for six decades, and the outstanding quality of her music has been so sustained that as recently as 2017 she won Jazz FM award for Vocalist of the Year. Her latest work, ‘Descansado - Songs For Films’ is the fifth album recorded with pianist Glauco Venier and reedsman Klaus Gesing. For this project the trio were augmented by percussionist Helge Andeas Norbakken and Marion Brunello on violoncello. Gesing and Venier have created new arrangements of music by composers such as Michel Legrand, William Walton, Bernard Herrmann, and Ennio Morricone, from films by directors including Martin Scorsese, Jean-Luc Godard, Wim Wenders, Norman Jewison, and Franco Zeffirelli.

The opening ‘His Eyes Her Eyes’ by Michel Legrand is given a restrained , contemplative treatment compared to the lush 60s soundtrack in ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’, but its intensity is focussed in the soaring soprano sax solo. More reflections on young love follow in ‘What Is A Youth?’, from Zeffirelli’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, a dramatic arrangement featuring percussion, violoncello & bass clarinet. However, the mood lightens with songs such as the Latin influenced title track ‘Descansado’. The oldest piece is by British classical composer William Walton - ‘Touch Her Soft Lips And Part’ , from Olivier’s Henry V (!944). Walton’s orchestral string arrangement is transformed in an intimate ensemble featuring Winstone’s touching lyrics and a tender violoncello accompaniment. The traditional English theme continues in ‘Meryton Town Hall’, from Joe Wright’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2005). Starting with violoncello, the rhythmic, vibrant piece gradually builds with clarinet, percussion and voice intertwining melodic lines. This is surprisingly effective, and joyous, although one imagines that the Bennetts and their peers may have found ‘ Ye Olde English Scat’ quite disturbing!

Much of the music of the album feels spacious and contemplative, reflecting its cinematic context, and Michel le Grand, one of the masters of this genre, has two compositions included. His second piece, ‘Vivre Sa Vie’ is presented firstly as an atmospheric and evocative ensemble piece, and then in the last track, as a short reprise of solo piano by Glauco Venier. An appropriately understated, yet dramatic finale.

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