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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Black Box


black box BBJ1001

  1. Come In Out of the Rain
  2. My Foolish heart
  3. An Occasional man
  4. Sunshine
  5. Scotch Mist
  6. Wild Child
  7. Serenade in Blue
  8. Stormy Weather
  9. You Stepped Out of a Dream
  10. Lullaby
  11. Since You Asked Me
  12. Green
  13. Softly As a Morning Sunrise
  14. If You’ve Ever Loved (The Meaning of the Blues)

Liz Fletcher – Vocals
Robin Aspland – Piano
Malcolm Creese – Double Bass
Mark Johns - Guitar
Marc Parnell – Drums
Matt Wates – Saxophone
Also heard on some tracks are Martin Shaw – trumpet, Tony Coe and Hugh Burns – saxes and Pete Beachill – Trombone.

This is the debut album by Liz Fletcher although you wouldn’t think so; she sounds like a very competent very experienced performer. The programme of songs is nicely balanced between the familiar and the new, much of the new material being from Rupert Wates, who I am assuming is a relative of the excellent alto player Matt Wates.

Liz Fletcher has listened well to the great female jazz singers and on certain numbers the influences are very clear. Sunshine might have been written for Annie Ross, but it is very well performed here. In fact everything about the album is very musical, the backings all contain solos of the standard one would expect from such a celebrated group of musicians. Serenade in Blue is not the old Miller favourite, but a nice gentle bossa nova from Rupert Wates.

Liz seems to naturally do the things that are essential in the jazz vocals dept., her pitching is spot on, but she still retains the ability to bend the notes where it gives the bluesy feel if that is what is required. She certainly has good diction and there is no difficulty in following the lyric in the new numbers.

Two favourite tracks for me are You Stepped Out of a Dream that has some excellent Robin Aspland piano and finds Liz demonstrating traces of both Peggy Lee and Blossom Dearie and Sunshine by Rupert Wates. There are no tracks that are wasted on this album, each one is interesting and the whole album thoroughly enjoyable and well recorded. The final track was recorded live at the Ealing Jazz Festival unfortunately the sleeve note doesn’t say which!
An excellent debut album from a singer we are surely going to hear a lot more of in the future.

Don Mather

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