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Kevin Fitzsimmons

Working Day and Night

JAZZ WURX JWRO12D [46:58]

 

 

 

 

 

Working Day and Night

Don’t You Dare Get Bored With Me

Old Devil Moon

The Masquerade

Every Breath You Take

It Never Entered My Head

Here’s that Rainy Day

Cuban Alibi

Bonus Track: Georgia on my Mind

Kevin Fitzsimons (vocals); Frank Griffith (tenor sax); Leon Greening (piano); Adam King (bass); Matt Fishwick (drums); Lloyd Haines (drums on bonus track).

Recorded live at the Pizza Express, Soho, London July 2017, except Georgia, recorded Underground Theatre Jazz Club, November 2016

 

When I reviewed his first album a few years ago, I wrote that ‘English singer Kevin Fitzsimmons has a dapper cut about him’ noting that five of the thirteen tracks were of his own compositions. For this release, recorded live at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, he has preferred standards, though still sings two of his own pieces and neither one featured on that first album. Clearly whether solo or in collaboration – one of the songs here was co-written with Derek Nash - he is forging a good line in originals. In addition, the disc cover artwork is by him so he is a multi-talented individual.

Co-arranger, pianist Leon Greening leads a splendid band, once again anchored by drummer Matt Fishwick. The role taken by Nash and by Alex Garnett on the first album is taken here by tenor player Frank Griffith. Trumpeter Matt Fishwick is also absent, so solo responsibilities are very much pared down to this tight quintet.

The band shakes down Michael Jackson’s Working Day and Night where Greening’s keyboard elegance is a decided asset. On the Fitzsimmons-Nash Don’t You Dare Get Bored with Me, an imperative command it would seem, the band throw in some Work Song quotations, and there is indeed a soulful Blue Note feel, with hip lyrics and a Stigers-reminiscent tone from the singer. His vocalizing is less overtly Americanised in Old Devil Moon, where elements of that old magician Mel Tormé seem to linger though Fitzsimmons is admirably direct, fast and fluent. If there’s a Don’t Get Around Much Anymore vibe to Sting’s Every Breath You Take, it’s made delightfully up-tempo with fine tenor obbligato and piano fills; tight rhythm and a funky piano solo complete the roll call of honour. For me this is perhaps the stand-out track.

But there are good things to be encountered throughout, from the Latin bossa feel to Here’s That Rainy Day, the thoughtful approach toIt Never Entered My Head and the reprise of Latino with Cuban Alibi. The bonus track is Georgia On My Mind, from a different location, in which Fishwick is replaced by Lloyd Haines. The arrangement is based on the Ray Charles version of 1960. There’s scatting a go-go here and virtuoso chops on a longer-than-usual extended workout.

Catch Fitzsimmons if he crosses your path. If his gigs are as swinging as this disc you’ll have a good time – as you will indeed from this disc.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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