alison dewar

Jazzwise Magazine Review

Natural , the debut album from South African-born singer Alison Dewar, follows hot on the heels of last year's 5-track sampler EP. As on the EP, the arrangements from ex-Incognito and George Benson pianist Graham Harvey are uniformly excellent. Not another 'Nature Boy' was my first thought when I inspected the track list. But Harvey transforms it into a slow, 70s style foot-tapper, Panayi's flute adding the perfect retro sheen.

Dewar takes on the challenge of the Hendricks vocalese 'Hi-Fly' and acquits herself well. The singers svelte tone and elegant phrasing are also heard in stylish performances of Jobim's 'Desafinado' and Incognito's 'Mood to Mood' , the latter an impressive feature for her backing vocals - makes you wonder why she restricted this particular feather in her cap to just one tune.

If the pop song 'Black Velvet' doesn't work as a jazz waltz, the arrangement of 'The Best is Yet to Come' as a bass/vocal duet acts as a palate-freshening sorbet between the album's first and second half - a nice touch. Chamberlain and Skelton are, as ever, a finely tuned and well-oiled rhythm section. The album is co-produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Derek Nash, or St Derek of Clowns Pocket, as he ought to become known in jazz circles.

Peter Quinn, Jazzwise (UK), June 2007