It’s a Nice Thought

COMPOSERS: Sarah Moule
LABELS: Linn
PERFORMER: Sarah Moule (v), Simon Wallace (p), Jim Mullen (g), Mick Hutton (b), Paul Robinson (d), Gary Hammond (perc)
CATALOGUE NO: AKD 192

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This is very superior cabaret fare: well-crafted original numbers that are sung flawlessly, and with slick accompaniments. Surprising, then, that it is an entirely British production. Admittedly, the lyricist responsible, Fran Landesman, is a quintessential New Yorker – but she has lived in London for nearly 40 years.

Beat poet turned club proprietor and musical writer, Landesman is best known for ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’, written with Tommy Wolf and now part of the jazz standard repertoire. Though now in her seventies, age has not dulled the sharpness of Landesman’s pen.

The pieces here, co-written with pianist Simon Wallace, provide a masterclass in brush-offs, put-downs and wisecracks. Sarah Moule’s bell-like, well-enunciated and somewhat operatic vocal style is rather at odds with the cynicism in material such as ‘A Suicide in Schenectady’, but the pairing works and the quality of Moule’s voice is what connects the song with the listener.

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The backing band is a real bonus, too, with welcome guest spots from, among others, tenorists Iain Bellamy and Tim Whitehead. Garry Booth