SUSAN CLYNES — Life Is... (review)

SUSAN CLYNES — Life Is... album cover Live album · 2014 · Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
kev rowland
Susan Clynes is a Belgian singer, pianist and songwriter who is forging her own path in music. After taking classical and jazz piano lessons and attending jazz workshops while in high school, Susan chose to follow her heart: shunning a more traditional course of university studies and career path in order to study music composition, and earning a Master’s Degree at the Ghent Conservatory. Her debut album was released in 2005, ‘Sugar For A Dream’, but this is her first full album since then. She is married to keyboardist Antoine Guenet (The Wrong Object, and Universe Zero) and Antoine encouraged her to perform as a guest vocalist on The Wrong Object’s ‘After The Exhibition’ and then suggested casually to Leonardo that Susan should join the label in her own right.

Leo also thought that it was a good idea, and this is the result. Unusually, this is actually a live album in the sense that these songs are taken from three different concerts, and while she is joined by Pierrre Mottet (bass) and Nico Chifki (drums) on two songs, there are another five where she is accompanied by cellist Simon Lenski (from RIO band Daau) and they obviously have a real connection. There are times when I am reminded of early Suzanne Vega or Tori Amos, but at others we are treated to Rio or avant-garde jazz, or torch, or any number of jazz styles. She has a wonderfully clear voice, combined with incredibly effective piano, and there is just the slight use of reverb on her microphone that assists in giving additional presence and the result is something that is immensely powerful. It really demonstrates that it doesn’t need crashing guitars or over the top dynamics to come across with something that grabs the listener and holds them enthralled to the very end. It is an absolutely stunning piece of work, and I for one would certainly be interested in hearing the debut now, I wonder if Leo is thinking of releasing that as well? (hint). Sheer beauty from the beginning to the very end.
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