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Live to Love

Specific Jazz SPEC 018



  1. Live to Love

  2. Malala

  3. We Do Need Love

  4. Palladium

  5. All is Quiet

  6. Simple As

  7. Sweet Devotion

  8. It’s Tomorrow’s World

  9. I Took Your Hand

  10. A Certain Kind of Eden

  11. Someday We’ll All Be Free

  12. Be Kind

  13. Something’s Gotta Give

  14. It’s Tomorrow’s World (Reprise)


Jacqui Dankworth – Vocals

Charlie Wood – Fender Rhodes (tracks 1-4, 7, 8, 10-12, 14), organ (tracks 1, 4, 8, 14), piano (tracks 3, 5, 6)

Ben Castle – Soprano sax (tracks 2, 4, 5, 9), tenor sax (tracks 3, 10, 11, 14)

Chris Allard – Acoustic guitar (tracks 1, 5-7, 10, 12), electric guitar (tracks 1, 3)

Geoff Gascoyne – Electric bass (tracks 1-3, 7, 8, 12, 14), acoustic bass (tracks 4-6, 9, 10, 13)

Mike Smith – Drums (tracks 1, 3, 5-7, 12)

Ralph Salmins – Drums (tracks 2, 4, 8, 10, 11, 14)

Paul Clarvis – Percussion (tracks 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14)

The Brodsky Quartet (tracks 5, 7, 9)

Daniel Rowland, Ian Belton - Violins

Paul Cassidy – Viola

Jacqueline Thomas – Cello


Jacqui Dankworth’s latest CD offers a contrast with It Happens Quietly, her previous disc, inasmuch as the standards she sang there have been replaced, for the most part, by material originating from Jacqui herself and from the musicians surrounding her. These include her husband, the Memphis-born singer and keyboard player, Charlie Wood, her bassist Geoff Gascoyne, who arranged many of the tracks, plus the multi-talented Malcolm Edmonstone, who has worked with Jacqui as her Musical Director on other occasions. For all that shift in emphasis, there are individual pieces here written by Wayne Shorter (Palladium), Enrico Pieranunzi (I Took Your Hand) and Donny Hathaway (Some Day We’ll All Be Free) as well as a further tribute to Jacqui’s father, the late great Sir John Dankworth, in the form of two separate takes of his television theme It’s Tomorrow’s World to which Jacqui has added her own lyrics. The only conventional standard is Johnny Mercer’s Something’s Gotta Give where Jacqui shows just what a great interpreter of a classic number she is, while Geoff Gascoyne on acoustic bass goes through his paces as her sole accompanist.

On three tracks Jacqui and her musicians are joined by the Brodsky Quartet, no strangers to the jazz/pop crossover scene and heard to good effect, especially on All is Quiet, a poignant song about the slave trade, where Jacqui’s purity of tone and Ben Castle’s haunting soprano sax are to the fore. All the tracks repay repeated listening but I liked We Do Need Love, a tuneful ballad with a message and with Charlie Wood on backing vocals providing sterling keyboard work. Ben Castle swings discreetly behind the lyric on tenor. Another favourite is Sweet Devotion, a catchy melody allied to strong lyrics with Jacqui’s voice clear as a bell, Chris Allard on acoustic guitar and the Brodsky Quartet again in evidence with Mike Smith unobtrusively driving the number along. This one sticks in the mind. Be Kind is quite simply a good song, the lyrics and tune supplied by Dankworth herself, with Allard again on mellow form. Simple As is gently swinging and charmingly sung. It’s a number with a nostalgic feel to it. Other highlights are Charlie Wood’s blues-tinged organ solo (as befits a native of Memphis) on Live To Love, Geoff Gascoyne’s stylish work on electric bass on It’s Tomorrow’s World, and the interaction between Ben Castle’s tenor and Charlie Wood’s Fender Rhodes behind Jacqui’s voice on Someday We’ll All Be Free.

So there it is. Jacqui Dankworth’s innate musicianship, her ear for a tune and her aptitude for lyric writing, taken with her capacity to put together a group of quality musicians, has led to yet another satisfying album. Listening to this I could hear echoes of some of her work with Field of Blue in the mid-nineties, but she doesn’t stand still. Her many admirers will find much to appreciate in this latest offering. Recommended.

James Poore

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