Her use of wordless vocals as well as her fine lyrics, and the impeccable arrangements for, and playing of the trio, have made Primary Colours a frequent visitor to my CD player.

33Jazz99

Germana Stella La Sorsa (vocals); Sam Leak (Hammond organ); Tom Ollendorff (guitar); Jay Davis (drums) with Special Guest: Tara Minton (harp)

Recorded May 20, 2023

This is an exceptional album from Italian born, London resident vocalist and songwriter Germana Stella La Sorsa, and her second recording for 33Jazz. In the three years since the debut album Vapour was released La Sorsa has been dividing her time between honing her craft on the London scene and beyond, and in her other role imparting her knowledge to others through teaching.

Primary Colours is a very personal statement from La Sorsa, and she has composed six new compositions the music and contributed lyrics to four of the seven tunes that make up this ‘concept’ album. Nothing grand conceptually to detract from the music but just to keep the thread that draws parallels between the art of colour and musical narration.

The narration in question, within La Sorsa’s observational lyrics that draw on personal experiences in the case of ‘Black’ that La Sorsa reveals her struggle with depression.

Surprisingly given the subject matter, ‘Black’ is dynamic number that moves from a tentative and poignant opening statement into and exhilarating piece that is driven along by drummer Jay Davis to accompany the songs memorable melody. La Sorsa also sings wordlessly as well as using her lyrics to tell her story and she does with a great deal of good taste and finesse.

‘Yellow’ is a cleverly achieved piece that uses a strong rhythmic impetus from the drums and bass pedals of the organ to set to music the words of William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”. La Sorsa’s delivery of the lyrics is much in keeping with the sentiments of the poem, and yet makes one hear the familiar prose anew.

The organ trio could easily overwhelm such delicately nuanced music but instead provide an imaginative and faultless backdrop for La Sorsa’s music. This is not to say that they don’t gently kick up the dust a little, and the set is peppered with lyrical and flowing solos from both Sam Leak and guitarist Tom Ollendorff, and the album closes with a free improvisation between La Sorsa and drummer Davis which is an absolute delightful piece of music making.

Harpist Tara Minton guests on two tracks, and her presence give the music another dynamic in which to focus the music. The beautiful ballad ‘Blue’ is totally captivating and over too soon as is the duet between Minton and La Sorsa that is played out in ‘White’.

I was asked by a friend if I would be interested in reviewing Primary Colours and duly introduced to Germana who sent a copy of the album. After repeated listens to this refreshing and rewarding album, I can only conclude that we all need friends like this.

There is a freshness to Las Sorsa’s music that took me pleasantly by surprise. Her use of wordless vocals as well as her fine lyrics, and the impeccable arrangements for, and playing of the trio, have made Primary Colours a frequent visitor to my CD player.