Wendy Nieper First Flight. FHR FHR10 ****
Ms Nieper is essentially a classical artist who has found jazz amenable.
Instrumentally, this relationship has a distinguished history, vocally, less so.
Here, it works.
Working with Roland Perrin & assorted good musicians, her versatility results in a cd that is full of variety & always enjoyable. When she sings emotionally, as on "Blower's Daughter", with Perrin's tense accompaniment, the result is strong contemporary jazz. Her "Poinciiana" is also a fresh & expressive take on a song with somewhat dated words & her own scatty "Retrospective Waltz" is a good jazz performance. She wrote "Empty Beach" with Perrin & her singing here is again emotional & is backed by some melancholy Digby Fairweather.
She & Roland Perrin work well, his playing keeping everything grounded in jazz, when Wendy might have been tempted to lapse from the jazz straight & narrow, as many a virtuoso does.
The last track is "My One & Only Love", hardly a jazz performance, but beautifully sung
Definitely one of the best singers in an overcrowded field.