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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


BBC Jazz Awards 2006

Disc 1: Vocal – Total time: [74:51]

Disc 2: Instrumental – total time: [63:28]

Specific Jazz SPEC005


Disc 1: Vocal – Total time: [74:51]

1. Messin' With Fire – Clare Teal
2. Saving Grace – Polly Gibbons
3. Corcovado – Jim Tomlinson
4. Autumn Leaves -Anita Wardell
5. But Beautiful – Jacqui Dankworth
6. I Concentrate On You – Elaine Delmar
7. City Life – Georgie Fame
8. Hey There – Ray Gelato
9. Chelsea Morning – Ian Shaw

10. Where is She Now ? -Julia Biel
11. It's Cold Outside – Jason Yarde
12. Sweet Tone Bone – Dennis Rollins

13. Beach Tune - Fulborn Teversham

Disc 2: Instrumental – total time: [63:28]

1. Honeydripper (Pts 2&3 instrumental) – Jools Holland
2. Finger Poppin –Alan Barnes
3. Rumble De Thump - Ronnie Rae Quintet
4. Up Too Late – John Taylor

5. Fascinating Rhythm - Bobby Wellins
6. Telescope – Andrew McCormack
7. Last Chance - Partisans
8. Trial And Error - Acoustic Ladyland
9. Beartown - Polar Bear
10. Lied - Spring Heel Jack
11. Epilogue - From The Land - Tim Garland's Lighthouse Project

This 2 CD set representing all the artists nominated for the BBC Jazz Awards 2006 is yet further proof (as if that were needed!) that there is a huge wealth of talent in British Jazz. Sadly it is all too often unrecognized, and it is to be hoped that this set will help more people to get to know singers and instrumental groups they may not otherwise come across. Those of you who are reading this and do not live in the UK I urge you to get hold of this issue and sit back and "be amazed" at what we have to offer "over here". I began to count the number of singers and musicians represented here but lost count at around 60 by the time I got to track seven on the first CD! The particularly satisfying element in such a collection is the new discoveries sitting happily alongside the well established names.

Polly gibbons is a newly arrived talent on the British jazz scene and has a wonderfully seductive voice – a real discovery, as is Julia Biel, and both co-wrote their songs, showing accomplished writing as well as vocal skills. Together with the likes of Clare Teal, Jacqui Dankworth and Georgie Fame, the vocalist’s disc is a great listen and showcasse the breadth of singing talent that abounds in the UK.

Disc Two comprises 11 tracks from the instrumental section featuring such well-known (in the UK at least) and respected musicians such as Jools Holland, Alan Barnes, Ronnie Rae, John Taylor and Bobby Wellins together with the lesser known Andrew McCormack, Polar Bear and others. It is especially pleasing to see John Taylor in the running in these awards as his brilliance has been too long overlooked whilst the continent has recognized his abilities for years and his contribution here is a Steve Swallow original ‘Up too Late’ featuring Palle Danielesson (Bass) and Martin France (Drums). Bobby Wellins’ treatment of ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ is masterly as in Alan Barnes’ rendition of Horace Silver’s ‘Finger Poppin’’. Evidence of experimentation comes through in Partisan’s ‘Last Chance’ and Acoustic Ladyland’s ‘Trial and error’, whilst Polar Bear’s ‘Beartown’ has elements drawn from Central Europe – all of them showing startling originality.

The disc begins with all guns blazing as Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra gives us part of ‘Honeydripper’ whilst bringing up the rear the penultimate track is by Spring Heel Jack (John Coxon and Ashley Wales) plus John Tchicai who produce a wondrous concoction on no less than 12 instruments plus voice and samples in their co-written ‘Lied’. The final offering is from Tim garland with the suitably placed ‘Epilogue – From The land’ – a beautiful and gentle tune.

I’m glad I’m not on the Judges’ Panel – how they’ll select a winner from each category I really don’t know. All the numbers are detailed with the discs they’re drawn from so discerning listeners can track them down. My advice: Do so!

Steve Arloff

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