GWYNETH HERBERT; Clangers And Mash (Naim Edge)

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Gwyneth Herbert is one the UK’s best loved jazz vocalists, though she would deny that categorization. In truth her work does defy simple definition but she has won countless jazz awards and has them queuing round the block for her New York jazz festival shows . The lady herself would prefer to be labelled “original” and this new mini album underlines her right to that tag. The raison d’être for the set is the release of a new single – the catchy and effervescent ‘Perfect Fit’. With no time to create a full LP to support it, Gwyneth has remixed, re-edited and re-worked some of her older stuff and the result is an imaginative and quirky collection.

First that single. Here, it’s presented in three versions. The original is stripped back with a simple guitar/ukulele/hand-clapping accompaniment that allows the beauty of the four chord tune to shine through. The radio edit is a little more polished but it retains the simple attraction that should make it a Radio 2 mainstay. That leaves the Mr. Solo and the Voluntary Butler Scheme remix… and how the song’s transformed! In their hands it becomes a declaimed David Bowie epic that would fool any Spider From Mars.

For the rest… well ‘Petite Cachouette’ is a simple French song (echoes of Francoise Hardy); ‘My Mini And Me’ is bluesy paean to her mini(car); ‘So Worn Out’ – a tale of student days- comes in two remixes; ‘My Narrow Man’ is an almost  electronic instrumental (just three words in it!); and ‘Midnight Oil’ comes in an a cappella version which highlights Ms. H’s vocal abilities. Quirky – yes; original – surely; worth a listen – definitely.

(BB) 3/5