Review: Nicky Schrire – Freedom Flight

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Nicky SchrireThe album opens with the uncanny voice of Schrire against a simple bass accompaniment. It builds into a magical ensemble of sound as the first track, Freedom Flight/Blackbird, sets the tone for this exciting new contemporary jazz album.

The CD contains a number of Schrire’s imaginative arrangements including Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right from Bob Dylan and a rhythmic number that will get everybody’s feet tapping, È Preciso Perdoar. Unique and rife with contradictions, Schrire’s style can almost be described as hopeful sadness; juxtaposing melancholy against the exclamation of joyous moments in life and time.

Although Schrire’s arrangements are accessible to jazz lovers of all genres and from all walks of life, the clever incorporation of some ‘African’ sounds also gives her music a distinct (but subtle) and enjoyable African flavour.  Listen to the track Me the Mango Picker and see if you don’t agree.

But in addition to the exciting arrangements the album also boasts one of Schrire’s original compositions, Ode to a Folk Song. This is a beautiful song with an ethnic feel that tells the simple story of a house on a hill. On this particular track the playing of Paul Jones on tenor saxophone is deliciously soulful.

In fact overall the instrumental support on this album is superb, supporting Schrire’s voice beautifully and capturing the mood of every track perfectly. Nick Paul’s playing on the piano is, however, so exquisite that it deserves to be singled out. His playing is precise and clean, his touch sensitive and he masterfully evokes an array of different tone colours that adds to the diversity of the tracks.

Everybody will have their favourite on this album, whether it is the melancholy of the track If ever I would Leave You that tugs at your heart, or the dreamy Cosmic Love. Even for those jazz lovers who not only enjoy listening to jazz but also delve into the compositional aspects and musicology of this genre this album will not disappoint. Schrire not only has a voice that captivates all the senses but her arrangements and compositions are also extremely creative and intellectual.

This album certainly provides food for thought and further analysis. In fact, I think I will listen to it again on this cold and rainy afternoon… as I open that second bottle of red wine….

Andra le Roux-Kemp

For more information on this artist and the album visit www.nickyschrire.com.    Nicky Schrire’s latest album, Freedom Flight, is available from www.independentmusic.co.za from 15 July 2012.

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