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12,393 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 112 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (Jan. 23).

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Album review: Sarah Moule, Esther Bennett, Daniela Clynes - The Songs of Duncan Lamont

It seems a lifetime ago since I first heard Duncan Lamont's Young Person's Guide to the Jazz Orchestra on my car radio. It has remained in my memory ever since as one of the finest extended suites in jazz. 

In the years that followed I became very much aware that the man was a master of his craft whether it be as a composer, arranger or tenor saxophone player although, in the latter category, I sometimes found myself confusing father and son, both of them having the same name and playing the same instrument.

Sadly, it took his death in 2019 for me to fully comprehend the quantity and the quality of his songwriting. He said he tried to write one song per day which, by my reckoning means he must have started when he was three years old!

The five songs on this EP are merely the tip of the iceberg but what songs and what beautifully respectful performances by all including both father and son. 

The music and the lyrics simply ooze class which is probably why the media never poured them down our throats. Too difficult for anyone but the best to sing hence we've had recordings by Blossom Dearie, Cleo Laine, Natalie Cole, Norma Winstone, Peggy Lee and many others including the three on this tantalisingly brief album.

Sara Moule sings I Told You So and Stark Reality. Tales of love gone awry with accompaniment by Simon Wallace (piano) and Duncan Lamont Senior blowing cool Getzian tenor. Sara finds just the right amount of feeling - singing from the heart, telling a story.

Esther Bennett steps up for Pretty People and There Ain't Nothin' Like the Blues. John Crawford takes over on piano, Duncan Senior blows more tenor and Simon Little (bass) and Mark Fletcher (drums) complete the line-up. More unrequited love with Bennett's throaty delivery tailor made for singing the blues.

The final track has the two singers joined by a third - Daniela Clynes - for A Great Day in Harlem inspired by the famous 1958 photo by Art Kane.  With Wallace back on piano  and Lamont the Younger on tenor it comes across like Man Tran or LHR as the names of at least 14 of the musicians on the photo are name-checked in the lyric. A great finale but I wanted more, more, more ...

Lance

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