JOE STILGOE: New Songs For Old Souls (Linn)

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Jazz pianist/vocalist, Joe Stilgoe is the son of entertainer Richard Stilgoe and this latest album shows his range and versatility. The stylish 12 tracker harks back to a musical age when style, wit and, yes, proper songs were the vogue. In places it evokes the finer things in life; at times it encourages reflection and introspection; and elsewhere if offers wry comment on all manner of things. Musically Joe describes “his” sound as a cocktail of the swing and style of Nat King Cole and Sinatra mixed with the humour of Dudley Moore and Sammy Davis Jr all garnished with the energy of Louis Prima and Oscar Peterson. Listening, you can hear all those influences but we could also add Harry Connick Jr, Jamie Cullum, Bobby Darin… even Michael Bubblé to the list.

Album highlights are two gorgeous ballads – his own ‘Gold On Silver’ and a cover of the standard ‘Too Late Now’. The former is Joe’s second stab at recording the song; his first version was on a live LP. Here the nostalgia-heavy song is given a wonderful cinematic treatment. The Broadway tune is a real delight with some wonderful piano and Joe proving that keeping things simple is often the best way to tackle a familiar tune. The album’s other big cover is a version of the Beach Boys’ ‘I Just Wasn’t Born For These Times’. A duet with Liane Carroll, the melancholy tune and deep introspection is perfect for this collection and its inherent sadness is a perfect foil to the more up-tempo items like the vigorous ‘Roll’ , the clever ‘Two Tones’ and the Bobby Darin-flavoured ‘How To Fall In Love’.

You can find out more about Joe Stilgoe and ‘New Songs For Old Souls’ via our recent interview with him. Our search engine (top right) will give you easy access to it.

(BB) 3/5