SIMONE KOPMAJER — Spotlight On Jazz (review)

SIMONE KOPMAJER — Spotlight On Jazz album cover Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
kev rowland
Simone is back with her thirteenth album as band leader, and for me in many ways it is full of surprises. The first of these is that Simone is Austrian, as she sings in pure unaccented English, and if someone had asked me to place her origin I would have probably guessed New York. The album itself is a mix of standards and songs she has written herself, and it is impossible to identify which is which unless the song is already known. With a wonderful supporting quintet, led by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra leader, saxophonist Terry Myers, the delicate support is absolutely perfect for her softly sung and emotional vocals.

She opens with an original, “Spotlights”, and immediately one is brought into a world of swing which is surely immediate post war as opposed to a brand-new release. The photo on the cover shows a coy Simone looking away from a very old-fashioned microphone, and in many ways, this typifies what is a truly gorgeous album from start to end. The musicians behind her are all masters, and they allow themselves to prove that here and there, but for the most part they rein themselves in and ensure they Simone is always front and centre. It is a relaxing, easy to listen to album, comforting and warm. Whether she is singing gently, or throwing vocal gymnastics as she skats, she is always in total control. This is an album for an intimate jazz club as opposed to a massive venue, dark with the spotlight just on her.

An album which has come through the time warp, sounding as if it is at least sixty years old and from an era long gone, this is a delight from start to end.

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