COMPOSERS: Juliet Kelly
LABELS: Purple Stiletto
ALBUM TITLE: Spellbound Stories
PERFORMER: Juliet Kelly (vocals), Nick Ramm (piano/keyboards), Oli Hayhurst (bass) etc
CATALOGUE NO: PSR004
‘Brit jazz’ has a long tradition of successfully working with literary forms, whether as a source of song lyrics or by way of inspiration. This genre-within-a-genre is too rarely identified, let alone celebrated, so new examples are always welcome. This one comes from singer/songwriter Juliet Kelly and it’s her first new album for several years. This is a set of original songs inspired by novels, and it’s either a cunning ruse or a nuisance that the listener is obliged to visit her website to discover which and by whom, but expect George Eliot, Alice Walker and numerous points in between.
The nuanced warmth of Kelly’s rich, full voice is streets ahead of most of her contemporaries and hearing her wrap it around the many styles presented here, which range from drum-driven primitivism to knowingly intimate balladeering, is a delight. Her band is discreet and subtle, the recorded sound lucid and spacious.