EMILY SAUNDERS: Cotton Skies (F-Ire)


Emily Saunders’ background is in classical music, yet as a student at the renowned Trinity Conservatoire she specialised in jazz voice and immersed herself in the music of people like Nina Simone and Flora Purim… two artists who perfected the art of using their voices rhythmically and here on her debut set, the young Londoner aspires to the same skills on a ten track set of Brazilian-style tunes – six of which she’s written herself.

She opens with one of the four covers – Hermeto Pascoal’s ‘Ginga Carioca’ – chosen, I’m sure to show off her vocal dexterity. She scats her way skilfully across the melody preserving its inherent lightness while some superb trumpet from Byron Wallen adds counterpoint. It perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album – loose, languid and lazy. Saunders’ music creates distance in an almost dream like way … supported by her ethereal lyrics. Try the only three lines of ‘Days’ – “Days, days, floating mind days. Days, days, whiling high in the while days… you fall, you fall, you fall”. That’s all she needs to create her mood and it’s maintained on songs like ‘Dream’ (some lovely piano here from Bruno Heine), ‘Serendipity’ and ‘Zachary’. The brightest tune is the Bobby McFerrin style treatment of Airto Moreira’s ‘Xibaba’ – a possible for any smooth jazz station’s playlist.

Find out more about Emily Saunders @ www.emilysaunders.co.uk  and catch her live at London’s The Vortex on August 1st.

(BB) 3/5