ROBIN McKELLE’S wonderful ‘Soul Flower’ album is steadily winning the hearts (and souls) of the UK and European soul fraternity. The LP is the Rochester, NY-born singer’s fourth album and tracks like the passionate ‘Fairytale Ending’ and the wonderful duet with GREGORY PORTER, ‘Love’s Work’ can be heard regularly on discerning radio stations while club DJs who play to a knowing soul crowd have made them fixtures on their playlists. Indeed JAZZ FM have playlisted ‘Fairytale Ending’ while the ‘Soul Flower’ long player is set to become the station’s “Album Of The Week” from 29th July.
Maybe it’s a good time therefore to remind ourselves that ROBIN’S first three albums are all still available from all the usual internet portals. She debuted in 2006 with ‘Introducing…’ The 12 tracker’s an unashamed jazz collection reflecting the fact that she was highly placed in the 2004 THEOLONIUS MONK JAZZ VOCAL AWARDS. The set features ROBIN’S covers of standards like ‘Something’s Gotta Give’, ‘Night And Day’ and ‘For All We Know’ and on release commentators noted the influence of SARAH VAUGHAN, ELLA FITZGERALD and even DORIS DAY! Enjoy a spirited version of ‘Yes My Darling Daughter’.
There are plenty more jazz standards on ROBIN’S second album, ‘Modern Antique’. Released in 2008 the set features highly distinctive takes on classics like ‘Lover Man’, ‘Cheek To Cheek’ and ‘Lullaby Of Birdland’. There’s also a quirky version of the STEVE MILLER pop hit ‘Abracadabra’ – a great swing arrangement here. You can also enjoy a McKELLE original. The self-penned tune is the elegant yet plaintive ballad ‘Remember’ and it points the way to the ROBIN’S third album.That third set – ‘Mess Around’ – came out in 2010 and it features four original McKELLE songs… the melancholy ‘Angel’, the loose ‘Until The Day I Die’, the bluesy ‘Since I Looked In Your Eyes’ and the tough title song which heralds the soulful material on ‘Soul Flower’. That direction is apparent on the cover versions too. ROBIN eschews the jazz material in favour of rock, pop and blues classics like ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’, ‘Cry Me A River’ and ‘Lonely Avenue’. Outstanding is a beefed-up, brass-filled version of LEONARD COHEN’S ‘Everybody Knows’.
Find out more about the super-talented ROBIN McKELLE by accessing our exclusive interview with her and then check out our in-depth review of ‘Soul Flower’….. the search box at the top right of the page will allow you to do both while ROBIN’S own site www.robinmckelle.com will fill in any gaps.