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

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The Music of Eleanor McEvoy

Moscojazz MOSJ 412



1. Please Heart, You're Killing Me

2. You'll Hear Better Songs (Than This)

3. Harbour

4. Love Must Be Tough

5. Wrong So Wrong

6. Don't Blame the Tune

7. Non-Smoking Single Female

8. The Thought of You

9. A Woman's Heart

10. At the End of the Day

Ciaran Wilde – Alto sax, clarinet

Myles Drennan – Piano

Dave Fleming – Double bass

Tom Dunne – Drums

This is the quietest album I have heard for a long time. By that I don’t necessarily mean that the musicians play quietly (although they do) or are recorded at a low volume (though they seem to be). I mean that the whole atmosphere is quiet and serene. The band seldom plays with much force, yet there is enough conviction in the playing as to persuade the listener of their serious intent. The four Irish musicians (and producer Mike O’Gorman) seek to pay tribute to the compositions of Eleanor McEvoy, a singer-songwriter whose song Only a Woman’s Heart was the title-song of a disc which was Ireland’s biggest-selling Irish album ever.

The quartet doesn’t treat the songs with excessive respect. For example, the opening Please Heart, You’re Killing Me is warmed up with a touch of bossa nova rhythm. Wrong So Wrong has a similar approach. Yet the quiet approach signifies a desire to give the songs the treatment they deserve. Ciaran Wilde’s alto sax is as restrained as Paul Desmond’s alto with the Dave Brubeck Quartet (and equally lacking in vibrato), while pianist Myles Drennan contributes some delicate solos. They respect McEvoy’s folky songs and they savour her melodies. For example, Harbour features the piano playing the simple melody over and over.

No song has a speed above mid-tempo, and ballads like Don’t Blame the Tune are presented with a lyrical feel. Here Ciaran White’s clarinet is radiant, and Myles Drennan’s piano solo has a touch of poignancy. The clarinet is also present for A Woman’s Heart. It is a pleasure to encounter such an understated album, which soon wheedles its way into one’s heart.

The packaging of this album left me unsure whether the name of the group was Corazón (Spanish for “heart”) or that was just part of the album title.

Tony Augarde

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