A very special calloboration between Norma Winstone, Stan Tracey and Bobby Wellins in a re-interpretation of some well known and some lesser known jazz standards. Norma Winstone, Stan Tracey and Bobby Wellins are all on top form and all three excel in each others company. Highlights include the duo rendition of Stan Tracey's 'Crepiscule with Nellie' and Bobby Wellins's solo on 'Goodbye'. Norma Winstone's singing is faultless throughout.
1 Spring is Here (Rodgers/ Hart) 5.46
2 Something’s Gotta Give (Johnny Mercer) 5.50
3 If The Moon Turns Green (Hanighen/Cates) 4.49
4 At Long Last Love (Cole Porter) 4.30
5 My Heart Stood Still (Rodgers/Hart) 2.28
6 I Fall In Love Too Easily (Styne/Cahn) 4.32
7 ‘tis Autumn (Henry Nemo) 5.39
8 Laura (Raksin/Mercer) 5.34
9 Milk Wood Sky (Tracey/Winstone) 4.57
10 A Love Song For All Time (Stan Tracey/Norma Winstone) 4.56
11 Too Marvelous For Words (Mercer/Whiting) 4.37
12 Crepuscule With Nellie (Thelonious Monk) 2.38
Total time 56.42
1 My November Guest (poem by Robert Frost
2 Music Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins, Norma Winstone, Andrew Cleyndert & Clark Tracey) 4.13
3 Glad To Be Unhappy (Rodgers/Hart) 4.45
4 August Moon (Meredith D’Ambrosio) 3.32
5 The Winter Of My Discontent (Wilder/Berenberg) 5.31
6 I Walk A Little Faster (Coleman/Leigh) 4.51
7 Goodbye (Gordon Jenkins) 5.36
8 Melancholia (Duke Ellington) 2.37
9 Some Other Spring (Herzog Jr./Kitchings) 4.42
Total time 36.00
Norma Winstone voice
Stan Tracey piano
Andrew Cleyndert double bass
Clark Tracey drums
Bobby Wellins tenor saxophone
Produced by Norma Winstone & Andrew Cleyndert
The art, and it is art, that resides in this recording is subtle,
almost shy. Yet in its intention and its purpose it is as secure
as any manifesto.
Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins, Norma Winstone, Andrew Cleyndert and Clark Tracey bring lifetimes of intelligence, experience and above all, musicality to their performance of some of the best songs around; whether old, well-loved standards or newly-minted masterworks.
Each one of these musicians must surely have an ego that allows them to feel that they can exist in the company of the other four. But none of them has the kind of ego that demands the unique possession of the spotlight. I treasure this recording; I’ve played it several times in the short while I’ve owned it. I love it because it’s not about the performance, it’s about the music. And that’s only possible when you have supreme performers, supreme musicians.
STEVE GRAY, March 2007
Norma Winstone doesn't bother with the usual manipulations of an audience's emotions through mannerism or artifice. She has often been associated with free-thinkers (the improvisational Azimuth trio with Winstone, pianist John Taylor and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler has a special place in the achievements of ECM Records), but returned to the standards repertoire with arranger Colin Towns last year. This double album is another standards set, this time with pianist Stan Tracey and tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins.
Winstone likes slow-moving music, and the second disc, including Glad to Be Unhappy and Ellington's Melancholia, finds her in wistful mood. But there are fascinating references to Stan Tracey's classic Under Milk Wood recording here and there - particularly in Milk Wood Sky, which is a vocal remake of the pianist's original Penpals; and a setting for Robert Frost's poem My November Guest, in which Wellins touches on the startled animal hoots he used on his famous Starless and Bible Black solo. Tracey is wonderful throughout (he engagingly starts his solo on the lazily sensuous Anything Can Happen as a series of impatient chordal harrumphs), and bassist Andy Cleyndert and drummer Clark Tracey are right in the music's pocket. This is standards-reinvention as it should be done.
JOHN FORDHAM The Guardian ****
Winstone believes in taking risks and eschewing the
conventionsal path...a display of musical intelligence at its best.
PETER VACHER Jazzwise Magazine ****
After her 'experiments' with big bands past year or so, it's great to hear Norma Winstone 'back' in the context of a small group. And what a group!!! Very exciting to hear her finally singing with Stan Tracey & tenor player Bobby Wellins. Very much an ensemble piece, if often subtle in the interaction, range and dynamics. But for me all the better for that. Nice combination of standards and 'new' works (mostly NW lyrics to some Stan Tracey instrumentals, or instrumental pieces by Ellington, Monk, etc.). Large areas are left for instrumental development, and everyone rises to the occasion I think. Some may not like the fact her voice is textural sometimes with the instruments moved forward in the mix, her discordant touches, or the somewhat huskier conversational timbre Norma Winstone has going at times. But I think it works. They swing great, always on their own terms. Wellins adds some really thoughtful 'rhapsodic' aspects. Tracey & his trio very thoughtfully balance aspects drawn from Ellington/Strayhorn, Monk, maybe Lennie Tristano and Paul Bley, and yet sound very individual too. And for me it's great to hear Norma tackling songs like "Winter of My Discontent,' "I Walk a Little Faster," "Goodbye" or "Laura" which seem to suit her so. I find the phrasing exceptionally good, if certainly very individual. Nice moments given too to bassist Andrew Cleyndert (his duo with NW on "My Heart Stood Still" is a gorgeous highlight) and drummer Clark Tracey (fine subtle changes, but also an awareness & 'love' of straightforward swing and the 'true' beat). I'm not sure this is the Norma Winstone album I'd recommend first for listeners-- she has so many great ones, & of course her voice has changed some over the years-- but it grows on me with each listen: glorious stuff.
E. C Goodstein (Northern CA United States) AMAZON REVIEWER