Christine Tobin Band: Aililiu

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COMPOSERS: Christine Tobin Band
WORKS: Aililiu
PERFORMER: Tobin (vocals); Huw Warren (p, acc); Steve Watts (b); Roy Dodds (d), plus guests: Steve Buckley (whistle); Ben Davis (cello); John Parricelli, Phil Robson (g); Mike Pickering (d)


As anyone who has heard the folk/jazz group Lammas will know, Christine Tobin, a Dublin-born singer now resident in London, is as adept at raising gooseflesh with plaintive folk laments as she is at negotiating the hairpin bends of jazz improvisation.

Leading her own band, however, she draws her material from an even wider variety of sources: Brazilian music (represented on this CD by a Jobim song impeccably performed in Portuguese), young UK jazz musicians to whose tunes she writes unusually cogent lyrics, and early influences on her style and approach such as Joni Mitchell – the latter’s ‘The Priest’ (from Ladies of the Canyon) is a highlight of the album.


But Tobin is no mere musical magpie; she has clearly assimilated into her own style the music from all these apparently disparate fields. The strength, control and purity of her voice, and the telling contributions of her regular band – particularly the ever adventurous Huw Warren – ensure that the album is a satisfying artistic whole. An inspiring debut from a singer to watch. Chris Parker