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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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with John Clayton & Friends

Listen Here




Comin' Home Baby [3:57], The Gypsy In My Soul [2:59], Throw It Away [6:21], Accentuate The Positive [4:50], Anytime, Any Day, Anywhere [3:15], I Loves You Porgy [5:24], How Little We Know (How Little It Matters) [3:56], La Puerta [3:55], Rip Van Winkle [4:49], A Time For Love [6:20], No One Ever Tells You [3:50], Before We Fall In Love [3:24], To The Ends Of The Earth [4:25], Listen Here [3:59]

Jackie Ryan (vocals), Gerald Clayton (piano & organ), John Clayton (bass). Obed Calvaire (drums), Rickey Woodward (sax), Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet) Graham Dechter (guitar).
rec. at Entourage Studios, Hollywood, California, USA on May 3&4, 2012 except Before We Fall In Love vocals which were recorded at Woods End Studio, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA on July 4, 2012. [62:42]


With the huge amount of talent that abounds in jazz it's not surprising that a lot slips under your radar but listening to Jackie Ryan I can't understand how she slipped under mine but I'm happy that at last it's picked her up. Hers is a massive talent that once heard is never forgotten, for as Baker and Taylor's CD Hotlist review put it "Everything she sings comes off beautifully, with amazing control. If she sings loud and brassy, she nails it; if she goes soft and silky, she owns it."  Singing is obviously in her blood, with a Mexican mother who sang operetta in Mexico and an Irish father whose baritone voice sang in many languages, and boy does it show! It wasn't surprising to read of her Mexican heritage for she has that wonderful timbre so uniquely associated with black singers which is characterised by a wonderful earthy and smoky sound. The voice is so true with every word delivered with a bell like clarity that it's a memorable experience to listen to this disc, especially through headphones when she seems to sing just to you. The choice of songs is inspired as each one reveals another aspect of this unique voice with its much acclaimed 31/2 octave range. It is difficult to choose individual songs to concentrate on but I absolutely adored hearing her rendition of the late, great Abbey Lincoln's Throw It Away of which Abbey would have been truly proud. Jackie's ability to reflect the black singers' sound is particularly appropriate for Accentuate The Positive with her giving it a gospel treatment that works perfectly. I doubt I have ever heard I Loves You Porgy sung as well as this before with Jackie's wonderful way of holding on to the notes. Her Spanish heritage is exploited to the full with La Puerta and her Spanish diction sounds pretty perfect to me adding to this lovely song, a fitting tribute to her mother which is the reason she includes a song in Spanish on each of her albums. I'd never heard the song Jackie's friend Carroll Coates wrote called No One Ever Tells You but it's a real belter and she certainly knows how to deliver a song like that. Conversely her facility to sing softly is just fabulous, as she does during Before We Fall In Love another original, this time from the pen of the disc's bassist (who plays a bass bequeathed him by no lesser a bass giant than Ray Brown) and surely destined to become a classic. I could wax lyrical over all the songs on this disc as Jackie makes them all so incredibly special but I'll close with the last song on it and the album's title Listen Here which is such a fitting one with a message that speaks to us all; that we should listen to the voice within us that tells us to be true to ourselves. I've concentrated on writing about Jackie's amazing voice but I must mention the brilliant musicians she gathered together for this disc, thanks to bassist John Clayton, whose backing is so in keeping with the songs, often as a result of John's inspired arrangements. His son Gerald is a wonderfully expressive pianist, Rickey Woodard a supremely talented saxophonist and Gilbert Castellanos and Graham Dechter are superb on trumpet and guitar with Obed Calvaire a true anchor of a drummer. The spaces in between Jackie's singing when the musicians have a spot to themselves show the wealth of talent they possess and it'd be great if they ever produce a sextet disc of their own - hint, hint! All in all for any jazz singer lovers out there this disc is a must have that will push them into wanting to acquire all her albums (6 more available - one a 2 cd edition). This is an absolutely gorgeous disc which I urge you to try.

Steve Arloff

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