Various: Amoroso… Only More So

ALBUM TITLE: Norma Winstone
WORKS: Amoroso… Only More So
PERFORMER: Norma Winstone (vocal); Bobby Wellins (saxophone); Stan Tracey (piano); Andy Cleyndert (bass); Clark Tracey (drums
About as perfect a vocal record as you’ll hear this year, and not a bad small-group jazz set on top of that. Britain’s premier jazz singer asked our senior jazz pianist to do a programme of standards and bassist Andy Cleyndert recorded the results for his Trio label. It all went so well that the music has spilled over into two CDs. Usually, this is a recipe for too much of a good thing, but here every track yields treasure. Tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins is at his guileful, unpredictable best; Stan Tracey shapes his accompaniments with a finesse to relish. The tune choices make a fascinating bunch, from an improvisation on a Robert Frost poem to such rarely-heard nuggets as Meredith D’Ambrosio’s ‘August Moon’ and Cy Coleman’s ‘I Walk a Little Faster’. As for the singer: every year I hear dozens of records by fresh-faced young vocalists starting out on the road to jazz stardom, such as it is. They should all start studying this immaculate set immediately.Richard Cook