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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke



SHEENA DAVIS GROUP
SMILE

JAZZIZIT JITCD0127
Jazzizit, Unit 7 Union Centre, Hillbottom Road, Sands Industrial Estate, High Wycombe HP12 4HJ.
01494 447373
www.sheenadavis.com

  1. It Might as Well Rain Until September.
  2. Smile
  3. Dancing Leaf
  4. Beyond the Sea
  5. I'm Into Something Good
  6. Three Little words
  7. Travellin' Light
  8. Forever Autumn
  9. Orange Coloured Sky
  10. My Guy
  11. Dum de Dum do
  12. The Very Thought of You

Sheena Davies - Vocals Tom Cawley - Piano Robert Rickenburg - Bass Pete Cater - Drums Jim Mullen - Guitar

Many of the world's greatest female jazz vocalists served an apprenticeship as Big Band singers, it is often a salutary experience, even if you knock the audience out every night, you are still that 'bird that sings with the band'. Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald both said it was important to their development as jazz mega-stars.

Sheena did her Big band stint with the incredible NYJO band, which has produced so many great jazz talents in this country and continues to do so under the guidance of MD Bill Ashton. In a recent review of a Shirley horn CD, I commented on her excellent diction and perfect intonation. Shirley must be one of the greatest living jazz singers, so when I say that Sheena too is very strong in this department, that is real praise.

One thing that came through clearly, was that this album is great fun to listen to and certainly it sounds like it was fun to make. Music has to be about enjoyment, for me this album is pure enjoyment. The rhythm section plays a very important part in this Tom Cawley's 'comping' provides an ideal piano accompaniment for Sheena, his solo work too is strong and swinging, Robert Rickenburg's Bass anchors the section well and Pete Cater swings the whole time. I once played in a band with Pete Cater, but he doesn't admit to it now!!! Pete has always been a superb Big Band drummer and here he more than amply demonstrates that he is just as at home in smaller groups.

The choice of programme is admirable, 'It Might as Well rain Until September' is not the most obvious of 'jazzers', but this version kicks the album of in real style. 'Smile' is taken at a slow tempo and has a feature for guest Jim Mullen on Guitar, Jim has always delivered, whatever the company and he seems to enjoy himself enormously. 'Dancing Leaf' is a Davies/Rickenburg original, it has a strong melody line and a good lyric. 'Beyond the Sea' is a medium tempo swinger. The remainder of the programme is equally entertaining. Three Little Words would be my favourite track; a great tune sadly neglected these days.

I am sure we are going to hear a lot more from Sheena Davies and I hope she always has the fortune to work in such excellent company. I would give this record five stars, but I feel that there is even greater things to be heard from her in the future! Buy this record and catch her on a live appearance next time she is round your way, she is already one of the best vocalists the UK has produced.

Don Mather

Don Mather is a saxophone player and Bandleader in Coventry


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