Jazz is all a bit male; the BBC Radio Three jazz podcast from Geoffrey Smith is overwhelmingly about blokes, with Jelly Roll Morton, Erroll Garner, Jim Hall, George Russell and 10 other males in recent weeks, only jazz singer and pianist Shirley Horn flying the flag for the sisters.
Jazz label ACT is trying to rectify this with Sisters in Jazz, led by Cæcilie Norby, “the grande dame of Scandinavian jazz”, who has gathered female musicians of several countries and generations to make this.
Given that female vocalists are not exactly as rare as hen’s teeth, the album doesn’t sound “feminine” — you can’t see the musicians, only hear the voice.
There’s no “feminine” sound in jazz, just jazz, and this collection of covers and Norbypenned tunes is pretty good jazz. Where the vocals feature it’s easy listening and late night, but it takes off in the instrumental sections: much more interesting, with some nice playing from Rita Marcotulli on piano, Nicole Johänntgen on sax and Hildegunn Øiseth on trumpet.
(The band is completed by Lisa Wulff on bass, Dorota Piotrowska on drums and Marilyn Mazur on percussion).
Covers include Easy Money from Rickie Lee Jones, Man From Mars and Big Yellow Taxi (no really, works pretty well) from Joni Mitchell and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow from Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
Big Yellow Taxi is a good example of the album, the vocals leaving you wondering why a jazz cover of the song is needed, but Marcotulli’s section provides something of an answer.
This is out on ACT 9738-2.
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