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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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First Flight

First Hand Records FHR 10



1. Blower's Daughter
2. Retrospective Waltz
3. Solomente
4. What'll it Be?
5. Empty Beach
6. Persuasion
7. Poinciana
8. Good Bait
9. Tree
10. My One and Only Love.

Wendy Nieper - Vocals
Roland Perrin - Piano
Dave Moses - Bass
Guy Silk - Drums (tracks 1-5)
Helder Pack - Drums (tracks 7-9)
Digby Fairweather- Trumpet (track 5)


Wendy Nieper is a very accomplished vocalist in the fields of both classical music and jazz, and I am sure she could turn her hand to just about any genre she cares to perform in. Her training at the renowned Birmingham Conservatoire has no doubt served her well but, as with any training, she has obviously put in the effort as well, in order to benefit.

In the sleeve note Alyn Shipton (Jazz Critic, The Times) makes an interesting comment. If he is reviewing the work of an artist that he is not familiar with, he always starts with those tracks where he is familiar with the tune. In this way he is able to assess the artist's work against the performances of others. I decided to address my review in the same way and so I started with Poinciana and Good Bait. I play both tunes frequently and so now I was on familiar ground. Wendy is a fine singer and the trio led by pianist Roland Perrin is as good as it gets. As I was familiar with the tunes, the efforts the combo made to come up with their own version, I found interesting. The problem for me with the tracks I did not know was that, being unfamiliar with the material; I did not know where they were coming from! I think an audience would have a problem with the music presented here because there is too much to take in at once.

One of the problems with jazz today, is that the intellectual and educational level of the participants is so high that you need an MSc in "Jazz Listening" to understand what's going on. However, the jazz genre is about swing and rhythm.

On the cover it says "featuring Digby Fairweather"; in truth he is heard on only one track and even then not in his usual style!

I would like to hear Wendy in a gutsy swinging set of standards. My guess is that she would be fantastic, but unfortunately that is not the way of the academic!

Don Mather

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