May 25, 2024

Website about Jazz and Blues

CD review: Fleur Stevenson – Follow Me 2019: Video, CD cover

This is an absolutely delightful album from Fleur Stevenson, and for the cynics who question if we really need another recording of some of these wonderful songs from the Great American Songbook then the answer must be an emphatic yes.

It is always said that talent can spot talent, and to this end Fleur has been been mentored by none other than Claire Martin who has described her as “A wonderful singer with a great musical ear and natural jazz feel.” which is a quality displayed in abundance here.

Having been immersed in music from an early age, Fleur was brought up on classical and ecclesiastical music singing in the church choir, and then classically trained in both voice and trumpet. This formal study has stod her in good stead, yet not stifled her natural instinct and feel that is essential in jazz.

She has soft and pure velvety tone that make her performances swing effortlessly as on ‘Old Devil Moon that also boasts a sparkling and inventive solo from pianist, Peter Billington, and the singer shows her her own improvisation prowess with her own scat chorus that brings the tune to a close. This ability to scat so convincingly and inventively is also heard on a fine improvisation from Fleur on ‘You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To’, and on the albums opening number, ‘Beautiful Love’. Equally fine is Fleur’s interpretation of Van Heusen and Mercer’s ‘I Thought About You’ with some commanding playing from bassist, Ralph Mizraki, and the wild card of the set a wonderful samba arrangement of King Crimson’s ‘I Talk To The Wind.

On the slower numbers Fleur shows her mastery of the ballad with a stunning ‘The Nearness Of You’ by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washing ton, a tune I have always had a soft spot for, and is as good as any other I’ve heard, and with an intimate reading of ‘You Must Believe In Spring accompanied by just piano, a flawless performance that immediately had me reaching for the repeat button as the final notes decay.

This is an album that is packed with great songs that are well arranged, not to show off Stevenson’s considerable talents, but produce a recording that shows a well oiled quartet performance from beginning to end and will appeal to all who appreciate top draw vocal jazz, and when picking up your copy you may wish to take the chance grab yourself Fleur’s debut EP, Introducing Fleur Stevenson, which is also not to be missed and while she still has some left.

1. Beautiful Love (4:42)
2. Misty Roses (4:16)
3. Follow Me (4:29)
4. The Nearness of You (5:49)
5. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To (3:46)
6. Can’t Help Falling in Love (5:10)
7. Teach Me Tonight (4:20)
8. I Talk to the Wind (3:46)
9. I Thought About You (5:00)
10. Old Devil Moon (5:26)
11. You Must Believe in Spring (4:17)

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