natural
alison dewar

Vortex Review

If there are, broadly speaking, two types of jazz singer (the Ella Fitzgeralds/Stacey Kents, who prioritise the song rather than their emotions concerning it, and the Billie Holidays/Madeleine Peyroux, who basically do the opposite), then South African vocalist Alison Dewar, courtesy of her crystal-clear diction and unfussily straightforward approach to a lyric, is firmly in the former camp.

On this introductory EP, she is backed by a sparky but discreet band led by the impeccable pianist/arranger Graham Harvey, on a intelligently selected programme of standards (neat versions of Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise, Too Close for Comfort and Star Eyes), a pleasingly languorous bossa nova (O Barquino) and (a highlight) an absorbing visit to Horace Silver's Peace, the long-held notes of which particularly suit her unaffected delivery.

An ear-catching sampler, Introducing will be followed by a debut CD release in early 2007.

Chris Parker, Vortex, London, UK (May 2006)

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