Working Day and Night
Don’t You Dare Get Bored With Me
Old Devil Moon
Every Breath You Take
It Never Entered My Head
Here’s that Rainy Day
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
Recorded live at the Pizza Express, Soho, London July 2017, except Georgia,
recorded Underground Theatre Jazz Club, November 2016
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
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
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.