Nick Lea in Jazz Views
Having reviewed Sue’s album 500 Miles High back in 2004 the singer seemed to disappear off my radar so it is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to reacquaint myself with her work some ten years later on this latest album.
Having built a reputation for mostly performing original material, with a scattering of covers, this is the first recording McCreeth has made where all the material are standards, and in doing so demonstrates just how versatile a performer she is.
Working with a paired down line up, sans drums, was an inspired choice and presents some of these well-
McCreeth has a distinctive edge to her voice that adds a further freshness to the material and her phrasing and delivery of the lyrics is never less than captivating, as if hanging on to her every word. Nice to hear as well a gently swinging ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ that is taken at a nigh on perfect tempo, and the singer proves her worth with material from Great American songbook tackling Harold Arlen’s ‘Stormy Weather’ and ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’ with panache. More contemporary tunes come from the writing talents of Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver on ‘Speak No Evil’ and ‘Pretty Eyes’ respectively; and the band swing hard on a stellar reading of ‘Devil May Care’.
Guitarist Mullen and Andy Cleyndert on bass provide the ideal support, unobtrusive but highy effective in accompaniment, and stepping up to the mark with some great solos. Trumpeter, Steve Waterman, is not heard on every track but makes his presence felt when he does put the horn to his lips as on the aforementioned ‘Speak No Evil’ and the ballads ‘Weaver of Dreams’ and ‘Very Early’.
This is a strong album from Sue McCreeth, and I for one will be making every effort to ensure that she does not disappear off my radar again anytime soon.