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4.8 out of 5 stars14
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 20 December 2002
While listening to Orsino's Songs it struck me that Clare Teal not only has the voice to carry the songs she chooses but that it is her personality and the transfer of it to her music that sets her apart from the mass of female jazz vocalists there are in the world today. Teal no doubt has her own voice, she is not one of those "sound-a-like Simones" or worse still - a "kind-of Ella". She is unique, and no matter what style she sings in you can't not know it is her singing. The album is a tremendous move on from her already acclaimed debut "That's The Way It Is" and her career shows no signs of slowing if the media are anything to go by. With a mix of Standards, original material and the odd more contemporary cover, there is something for everyone on this record. Already highly praised by Michael Parkinson, the lead track "California Dreamin'" is the stand out arrangement and performance on the record. Coming a close second is "Mountain Greenery" which features a very witty piano solo by Teal's regular cohort Martin Litton. Most reviewers will harp on about the guest appearances of Alan Barnes. It's true he is superb (as ever) but listen to reedman Trevor Whiting's phrasing and tonality throughout the disc - surely this man merrits more attention. "Blues In The Night" is awesome, and "I Loves You Porgy" is possibly the finest recording of this song to date. This is a great record obviously made by a group of top players who know exactly what they are doing..I suspect you won't get better than this until Teal's next album.
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on 28 November 2002
I am a keen collector of mainstream jazz albums. I have nearly 4,000 in my collection. These contain the many of the greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett to name but a few. I am so pleased that I have finally found a British Singer who is up there with them. Clare Teal is a fantastic new find for Jazz, British or otherwise. Her emotive natural voice is a joy in it'self, add that to the natural phrasing and warmth and we have something very exciting on our hands.
I would suggest this album to any one who loves great songs sung with love and affaction. This is one great album, it is led by the best voice I have heard for decades and backed by a band of equal compliment. You will find no artificial, over produced nonsense on the CD, only a heartfelt honest, and in my opinion very successful approach that warms the very bottom of your heart. Absolutely terrific.
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on 27 November 2002
I heard Clare Teal on Radio 2 and bought this album (from amazon!)on the strength of it. I have never written a review before and really don't know how helpful my ramblings will be to prospective buyers. What I do know is that I love love love this album. Magical is the only word for it. This woman has a beautiful voice that grabs you instantly. I think the songs are very well chosen and I also think the band are great. I can not recommend this album highly enough it makes me think of Christmas!
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on 25 October 2002
Clare's first CD, 'That's The Way It Is' was given to me as a present. I have played it constantly for 5 months. I bought this new cd at a concert and I have to say it is even better than the first. The over all sound has improved dramatically and there is a new confidence to be heard in Ms Teal's vocal. Another delight are the guest appearances by Iain Shaw and Alan Barnes. Iain in particular delivers a quirky charm to Clare's own song LETS NOT TAKE A RAINCHECK and Alan Barnes adds a haunting clarinet to a beautiful version of California Dreaming. This for me has the makings of a perfect album there is a nice balance of originals and standards although the quality of both is equally good. I have started my xmas shopping early and guess what all my friends are getting! Clare Teal is a pearl of a singer, and Orsino's Songs is a real feel good album.
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Clare Teal may now be Britain's leading female jazz singer, but this early album was a step along the way to attaining that status. It oozes the quality that you would expect from a rising star. Right from the opening track, you know that here is a singer who is determined to take chances. That opening track is a radical re-interpretation of California dreamin' as a late-night romantic jazz ballad. I could never have imagined this particular song arranged this way, yet it works brilliantly although it does take getting used to if you're familiar with the original, as you should be.

But this is not a late-night jazz album, because it is full of contrasts and doesn't settle into one particular style. The second track, The way you look tonight, is a more obvious candidate for interpretation as a late-night jazz ballad than California dreamin', but Clare gives this song a very upbeat treatment - indeed, she sings this the way that you might have expected her to perform California dreamin'. So you definitely know by now that you shouldn't assume anything about this album based on the song titles alone.

The remainder of the album includes four original songs (Life plans, Let's not take a raincheck, Ready for love to begin, Who bought the car?), which are very different from each other, reflecting the different moods that Clare created for each song. Lyrics for these four songs are included in the booklet, but no lyrics are included for the oldies. Jazz fans won't need these anyway, as they'll recognize the songs from other sources.

The remaining cover versions are In the still of the night, Blues in the night, You make me feel so young, Mountain greenery, I only have eyes for you (with the possible exception of California dreamin', surely the most famous song here) and I loves you Porgy. Some of these owe more to the original arrangements than others, but even where Clare sticks close to the original, she always manages to stamp her own identity on the song. Clare is generous to her musicians, allowing them to be heard on long instrumental breaks in some songs.

The album takes its title from a Shakespearean character, but my knowledge of Shakespeare is somewhat less than my knowledge of music so I can`t tell you who Orsino was. What I can tell you is that this is a truly magnificent jazz album by a singer who has subsequently proved, by sustaining the quality on later albums, that this was no fluke.
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on 1 November 2002
Clare Teal's debut album caused quite a stir around Europe in the early months of this year, a little over six months pass and a second volume arrives hot off the press. But for those who think that this is a mere "part 2" to last year's "That's The Way It Is" - think again. "Orsino's Songs" is a wonderful collection of songs that showcases even more clearly the fantastic range and power this young singer can already achieve. From the very first husky breathy notes of the opening track "California Dreamin'" Teal captivates and enchants the listener..the song is familiar, yet different, it takes a few seconds before you realize what you are listening to, and then any recollection of the original Mamas & Papas version dissapears as Teal makes the song her own. Not that she needs too, for there are several songs - very fine songs indeed - penned by her on this album as they were on the debut.
Clare Teal has been praised in the press as a singer AND writer of great note - This album proves this to be true. Not one note is out of place, not one song any less inspiring than the other.
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on 12 April 2003
Tonight (11:04:03) my wife and I went to a Clare Teal gig in Upton-upon-Severn. We were so amazed at the voice, song writing talent, wit and above all the ability to deliver a song that we bought both albums at the concert (sorry Amazon!). It is now after midnight and we have listened to "Orsino's Songs". This confirms that we have a great jazz talent to compare with anyone in the world, including North America. Must go now - can't wait to hear "That's the way it is".
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on 11 November 2002
I am a new comer to Clare's music. But since I started hearing her on the radio I have become a very big fan. I love the way she handles a tune, she's very emotive. I personally think she is the best singer I have ever heard. I urge people who love great songs, great musicians and great singers to buy this wonderful CD. You can't help but feel better when you listen to 'Orsino's Songs'.
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on 27 February 2010
It's been out a while since I got around to downloading it and adding it to the collection, and I wished I'd done it earlier. If you're a fan of Clare Teal then you will not be disappointed - this album has all the things you would expect from Clare and an eclectic selection of tracks that leaves you realising that she deserves to be appreciated more than she already is.

Buy it - you won't be sorry!
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on 28 April 2003
I have seen Claire perform most of these tracks live and she is truely amazing!
Her voice cuts through you so you will never forget the 'magic'.
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