The great British jazz singer Norma Winstone once again casts her net wide for source material for this third ECM album with Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German clarinettist/saxophonist Klaus Gesing. Alongside the striking self-penned songs, there are pieces by idiosyncratic singer/songwriters Fred Neil, Nick Drake and Tom Waits, as well as tunes associated with the cinema, with contemporary pop and more.
They take a fresh approach to Madonna's "Live To Tell", and to Dave Grusin's "It Might Be You", as well as Ralph Towner's "A Breath Away" (now with lyrics by Norma) and "Bein' Green", a children's song elevated to jazz standard status by Sinatra, Stan Kenton, Ray Charles and others. "As Winstone moves ever farther from the Great American Songbook", All About Jazz observed, "it's certain that, with band mates as sympathetic as Gesing and Venier, there's precious little she can't do."
This adaptive and resourceful trio has been active for more than a decade. When the long-running duo of Venier and Gesing invited Winstone to join them for concerts, the singer recognized the potential for developing a group music with its own character, distinguished by Venier's highly original harmonisations and Gesing's approach to the bass clarinet in particular. Oscillating between rhythm and melody roles, he sounds like no other jazz soloist on the instrument.
Their first album as trio, Chamber Music (Universal), was recorded in 2002. It was followed by the Grammy-nominated Distances, recorded for ECM in 2007, and Stories Yet To Tell in 2009. Dance Without Answer was recorded in December 2012 in Lugano, with Manfred Eicher as producer.
Personnel: Norma Winstone (voice), Glauco Venier (piano), Klaus Gesing (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone)
ECM 2333; ECM RECORDS - Germania; Pop Jazz