COMPOSERS: Norma Winstone
PERFORMER: Norma Winstone (voice), Klaus Gesing (sax), Glauco Venier (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 273 7426
An extraordinary album even by the standards of the musicians involved. Winstone’s uniquely versatile voice has taken her into every corner of jazz and into music genres adjacent to it such as free improvisation, while her development as a lyricist (aspiring singers, listen and learn what happens when you master your instrument before you start creating material for it), combined with her subtle self-awareness regarding how a singer’s voice changes over time, make her work compellingly listenable for an ever-evolving set of reasons.
This close-captured, sonically intimate disc, which sees her supported by some faultlessly empathic contributions from reeds and piano, takes the concept of the jazz ballad into the territory of poetics, weaving language, vocal technique and instrumental texture into an integrated whole. If you need convincing, simply sample the opening track, in which Winstone’s voice moves from a halting Sprechtstimme to emotive lyricism as the narrative progresses. Roger Thomas