5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This is the third ECM release with Norma Winstone and Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German Klaus Gesing on bass clarinet and soprano saxophonist. This is a far cry from her 1970's collaborations with Mike Westbrook and other big band formats. Norma's vocals have matured. Norma seems more comfortable expressing herself with an ensemble. This is a superb rendition of her talents. Her pitch perfect confidence, subtle and light touches are meditative and poetic. This is eased by the magnificence of Gesing and Venier. This is a collection of music by her accompanists with Norma's written vocals and adventurous interpretations of standards and cinematic themes.
'Dance without Answer' opens with a haunting bass clarinet opening before Norma's lyrical interpretation of fond farewells. This sets the scene for poetical interpretation of the Tomas Mendez's Mexican 'Cucurrucucu Paloma', with her own lyrics. The Italian connection with 'Gust Da Essi' and the nursery rhyme 'A Tor A Tor' are written in Friulian dialect (North East Italy with 250,000 speakers). The bass clarinet of Gesing weaves and whirls throughout producing a sublime performance. The Gesing written number accompanied by Norma's lyrics is exquisite, her delivery clear and cool with Gesling's soprano sax swirling about her in a captivating way. The interpretations of standards, Nick Drake's 'Time of No Reply', Madonna's 'Live to tell', Tom Waite's 'San Diego Serenade', Ralph Towner's 'A breath Away' and Fred Neil's 'Everybody's Talkin' are taken in Norma Winstone style. Barely a whisper, the numbers are delivered with a strength and authority in a melancholic style.
Apart from Norma Winstone's beautiful delivery, this recording, as with her other releases with these musicians, are dependant and enhanced by the sublime reed man Gesing. His improvised freedom with the vocals are outstanding and so distinctive. His duet with Norma on 'San Diego Freedom is beautifully constructed. Pianist and composer Venier is the ideal accompanist with a contemporary chamber music approach but shows his class on 'A Breath Away' with a marvellous solo before joined by Gesing's bass clarinet. This is a fabulous recording by Norma Winstone and her accompanists. Wistful, inventive with imposing piano and reed-work. Highly recommended.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2014
Norma Winstone's work with Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing can be thought of as experimental and unique carrying on the tradition of her work with Azimuth. Her timing is perfect although the timbre of her voice is always a little insecure. Her pronunciation of non English lyrics leaves something to be desired. I note that this CD has been heavily featured on Helen Mayhew's Dinner Jazz on Jazz FM. It's like that. Novel but accessible. My favourite track is 'Bein' Green.' I'm happy with my purchase.