CD REVIEW: Trudy Kerr - Contemplation: The Best of Trudy Kerr



Trudy Kerr - Contemplation: The Best of Trudy Kerr
(Jazzizit records. Review by Kai Hoffman)

Trudy Kerr's  album Contemplation, released a few months ago, is a fantastic compilation of her favourite tracks from an impressive catalogue of ten different recordings with a practical 'who's who' of British Jazz in her lineups including her husband Geoff Gascoyne, Seb de Krom, Tom Cawley, Dick Pearce, Jim Mullen, Martin Shaw, Derek Nash and Andy Panayi and more.

You wouldn't notice that these beautiful, fluid songs are in fact from a multitude of times and phases, as Trudy's wonderfully flexible, consistently warm sound hasn't changed a bit from album to album, and the songs fit wonderfully together.

A melancholy, reflective mood is set with the first track, Glad to Be Unhappy, from her album Daydream with American pianist Mulgrew Miller, before the mood is lifted with a great version of 'Tea for Two,’ with a tight, swinging tutti solo, celebrating the music of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, originally from the album My Old Flame. Her treatment of standards is as fresh as the original numbers on the album. Extracted from the recent album The Rhythm of Life (with husband and collaborator Geoff Gascoyne) come two songs, the beautiful and flowing original Poppies, as well as the lyrically poignant Save Me, which whilst maintaining a relaxed feel, delivers a captivating message of the trials and tribulations of love.

It can prove challenging to introduce strings to a jazz recording, but They Say It’s Wonderful is mixed eloquently and flows perfectly with the other songs on the album, bringing the listener back to the contemplative, ever-so-slightly-bittersweet feel of the album, the sound of the strings effortlessly blending with Trudy’s magnificent voice, whilst Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren’s sensitive, textural piano playing make this track one of the stars on the album for me personally.  Moment’s Notice  demonstrates Trudy’s skill with vocalese, both lyrically and with her driving senses of rhythm and phrasing on this Coltrane classic, while her demonstrative version of My Foolish Heart conveys a unique uncertainty, bringing an entirely new meaning to the lyrics. Another favourite of mine from Contemplation is the warm bossa Two Kites, with a mellow combination of open, vast-feeling orchestration and the rhythmic melody. There is a kind of fantasy to this song, like capturing the feeling of flying - you can hear the rush of the wind and fun in Trudy’s voice.

This is a perfect album for an evening at home by the fireside, with the lights dimmed and a glass of a complex-tasting red wine. Delivering Contemplation with a sweet, poignant delicacy and wonderfully flexible sound, the singer demonstrates that she has always been a remarkable talent, and is still at the top of her game. Drawing you into each song with a poignant sensitivity, Trudy Kerr takes you on a wonderful journey with this selection of songs.

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