Their rendition is always elegant, no matter the genre, which may be fully expressed or merely subtly implied.

Village Life Records CD 141122VL

Cathy Jordan, voice; Liam Noble, piano; Paul Clarvis, drums

Recorded on-line in July 2020 and in the studio in January 2022

Some of you will have heard some of these songs way back in the 50s, and some of you may remember them because there is something unforgettable about them and you can’t quite let them go.

Hardly a jazz album you might think, but on board at piano and drums are Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis, two of our most sort-after UK jazz stars. Cathy Jordan was born in county Roscommon in Eire, is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, playing bodhran, bones, bouzouki and guitar.

There are many facets to Jordan’s extraordinary voice, enabling her to encompass incongruent musical genres fluently and with ease.

Not only does she achieve this, but she convincingly manages to blend her own, historical Irish folk tradition with jazz songs from the widest of sources, for example Mose Allison and Duke Ellington. Mose played with an inimitable mix of blues and modern jazz, while Duke was always inventive and unconventional.

Jordan has held a significant presence on the stage of Irish music for nearly thirty years, performing world-wide and recording as well. Her musical stock is drawn from many and diverse sources, including blues, country, Irish folk, jazz and theatre.

Liam Noble studied music at the University of Oxford and a postgraduate course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He became the regular pianist with Stan Sulzmann and worked with Harry Beckett and Tim Whitehead, also touring and recording with the minimalist composer, Moondog.

Paul Clarvis has collaborated with some of the world’s best composers and performers from Harrison Birtwistle to Mick Jagger, with a professorship in drums and percussion at the Royal Academy of Music thrown in.

The album Freight Train was conceived originally for a lockdown commission as a streaming, YouTube, contemplative set of jazz and down-home blues.

Following on from the lockdown video the trio have recorded this singular collection of tunes. Their rendition is always elegant, no matter the genre, which may be fully expressed or merely subtly implied.

Cathy’s voice is honied, gentle folksiness, but delivers tough when the meaning is appropriate and even then, its magic sparkles.

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham