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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Album Review: Sophie Bancroft and Tom Lyne – Monday Nights


Sophie Bancroft (vocals, guitar); Tom Lyne (acoustic and electric bass)

This couple coped with lockdown in the way that many jazz musicians did, by live-streaming gigs from their Scottish home each Monday evening, hence the title of the album that has come out of those gigs. The songs are a mixture of re-imagined standards, four originals written by Ms Bancroft, one offering from Tom Lyne, and a final track from the pen of Tom Waits.

The music set me wondering why on earth I hadn't heard of these two superb musicians before: what have I missed from the past? 'Brave, bright and engaging' said Jazz Journal, and I have to agree. The re-imagined standards really are that, with a fresh uncluttered feel to them

Ms Bancroft's voice is true with excellent diction and the bass plays sympathetically, sometimes on the tune, sometimes improvising or soloing, or occasionally providing rhythm for the guitar tune. This is what gives the uncluttered feel, edging towards contemporary folk on some tracks, such as the original love song Blue Room (not to be confused with the Rodgers and Hart tune of the same name).

You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To is surprisingly upbeat; Far from Mars is an intriguing song about a family preparing to go to Mars: I thought it was the Tom Waits' number listed but it turned out to be by Tom Lyne himself. Miles Away (Bancroft) is a love song sensitively sung to steady guitar chords. On The Street Where You Live is definitely jazz rather than the usual musical theatre style and the album is well rounded off with Tom Waits melancholy Grapefruit Moon, 'and I slip just like the stars, into obscurity.'

Sophie Bancroft is from a jazz-playing family and has sung at jazz festivals and venues in Britain and Europe. Her last CD came out in 2015. She also writes poetry and songs and is a vocal trainer, who has worked in various establishments, including Newcastle University. She currently teaches on the music degree course at Aberdeen University. Tom Lyne, who hails from Canada, plays bass in jazz, folk and contemporary styles in many settings. He settled in the UK in 1998.

The album will be available everywhere from November 23. See www.jazzfuel.com

 Ann Alex

Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Fragile Moon; Underneath The Apple Tree; Miles Away; Blue Room; Far From Mars; Comfort; On The Street Where You Live; Grapefruit Moon

4 comments :

Lance said...

Great voice - nice backing.

NeilC said...

They have an earlier album from 2012 You turned the tables on me and Sophie has quite a number of other albums to keep you company until this is released.

Jen said...

Sophie also runs annual - 4 day vocal courses (usually in April) at Cromarty along with Fiona Duncan, Brian Kellock, Sara Colman and Liane Carroll as tutors. Can really recommend this.

Unknown said...

Sophie Bancroft has a heavenly voice and great understanding of each song she sings. Her own songs are beautiful and there is always at least one in each of her albums that speaks directly to you. So looking forward to this new album. The Monday night gigs have been a lifeline in our house and we have tried to attend every one. Relaxed and informal presentation with small insights into Sophie and Tom's life, family and friends as well as explanations for each song, why they've chosen it and what it means to them. Oh, and they have adopted a 50/50 stance for writers which means they often feature unheard of female writers and, and this is wonderful, give you some history of these artists. Buy the album, listen in on Monday nights.

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