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



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MATTHEW FORD

On the Other Side of the Tracks

Diving Duck DDRCD 007

 

 

 

1. On the Other Side of the Tracks
2. Just One of Those Things
3. I'm Beginning to see the Light
4. Have You Met Miss Jones?
5. Like Young
6. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
7. I Don't Care, Only Love Me
8. Besame Mucho
9. Meditation
10. The Best Man
11. Hello, Young Lovers
12. At Last
13. If Ever I Would Leave You
14. My Funny Valentine
15. Windmills of Your Mind
16. That's All

 

Matthew Ford - Vocals
John Horler - Piano, Hammond organ, arranger
Jim Mullen - Guitar

Jim Hart - Vibes, marimba

Dave Chamberlain - Bass

Jeremy Brown - Bass
Matt Skelton - Drums

Mike Lovatt - Trumpet

Colin Skinner - Alto sax, flute, clarinet
, arranger
Robert Fowler - Tenor sax, clarinet

Alistair White - Trombone

Pete North - Bass trombone

 

It seems fashionable nowadays to call yourself a jazz singer even if the description is inappropriate. Perhaps vocalists are tempted to do this because they see the success of genuine jazz singers like Diana Krall or Stacey Kent, but it contravenes the Trade Descriptions Act. Many self-declared jazz singers are simply imitators. Matthew Ford first came to notice in 1996 when he imitated Harry Connick Jr. on ITV's Stars in Their Eyes. Matthew is a good singer but not a great one. His pitching sometimes falters and he's not a jazz improviser. He clearly comes into the category of "easy listening" and there's nothing wrong with this - except that his publicity uses the word "jazz" to describe him and he's on the jazz label Diving Duck. This may lead potential listeners to expect something different from what is really here. You actually get a pleasant crooner rather in the mould of Michael Buble (or all those Ratpack impressionists), backed by some of Britain's finest jazz musicians.

His accompanists here are undoubted jazzmen and they do good work - nine musicians playing in permutations ranging from nine to just one (pianist John Horler on If Ever I Would Leave You). In fact I found myself listening especially to the short solos from some of the jazz players - like those from John Horler and Jim Hart (the latter on marimba) in Besame Mucho, tenorist Robert Fowler in Meditation, and guitarist Jim Mullen in My Funny Valentine.

John Horler and Colin Skinner devised the arrangements and John says in the sleeve-note that he "favoured a small West Coast jazz feel". Both arrangers have achieved this very well: in fact much of the album's appeal comes from the variety of backings. Particular delights are the cheeky Grieg quotation which opens I Don't Care, Only Love Me; the Dixieland bounce of The Best Man; and the unusually slow tempo chosen for Have You Met Miss Jones? (recalling Count Basie's Li'l Darlin' in its leisurely pace). In sum, the backing musicians make what might have been an acceptable but fairly ordinary album into something rather special.

Tony Augarde



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