…Her voice warm and intimate.

Trapeze TRFCD 1001

Isobel Gathercole (v); Andy Gathercole (t, flh); Colin Skinner (ts, as, cl);Pat Hartley (tb); Nicole Wilson (v, viola); Gemma Rosefield ( cello ); Cecilia De Maria (harp); Jeremy Brown (b); James Gathercole (elb); Justin Quinn (elg); Malcolm Edmondson (p); Tom Gordon (d ,pc); Jeremy Cornes (perc)

Recorded London, no dates given

This is Ms Gathercole’s debut album, and it is a well thought out, well programmed effort. Produced by her Dad, Andy and arranger Colin Skinner; both deserve credit for the success of the record. Andy plays trumpet, open and muted on several tracks and Mr. Skinner is heard on saxophones and clarinet as well as providing the sterling arrangements.

As to the singer she is very good in the tradition of big band jazz vocalists in the Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day manner although most selections here are by a swinging nine piece band.

There is though a smooth kick off with Day Dream, Isobel singing brightly and backed by what sounds like a full string section with harp although only one each of violin, cello and viola are listed in the personnel.

It does though provide a lush, melodic start to the proceedings immediately followed by the band in full jazz big band cry behind Ms Gathercole on The Best Things In Life Are Free.

Isobel gets a good vocal sound on There’s A small Hotel, her voice warm and intimate. She can belt them out too though, as she does on Don’t Sleep On The Subway and the last bars of The Thrill Is Gone. She is also  suitably tongue In Cheek and obviously enjoying herself on Cole Porter’s Always True Too You—in her fashion.

The music here is really good, a vocalist whose phrasing is fine and her rhythmic sense secure, sturdy, swing arrangements and a good mix of material.

As to the CD and booklet, no information is given about the composers and although it is mostly popular standards I would like to have known who composed Samba For Stephanie and Something Good. No recording dates are listed either.

It seems this was a family affair with Dad producing and on trumpet and there is a James Gathercole on electric bass. Brother? Husband or boyfriend maybe?

Final thought, Isobel appears on the CD and cover in six photographs looking up, looking pensive, looking right, left, looking pleased and on one, looking as if she is saying ,‘do you really want me posing here?’ No worries, the music is fine all through and that’s the important bit.

Reviewed by Derek Ansell