Debut release 05/22/12
I may have reviewed two dozen female vocalists and the year is not half over...Nicky Schrire I will remember. An eclectic selection of tunes delivered with impeccable timing and spot on phrasing, Schrire takes the word "entertainment" to the next level. While Schrire's mentor Peter Eldridge and I had a bit of a dust up on face book, there is no denying his talent and his incredible effectiveness and influence he has had on the prolific talent and ability of Nicky Schrire.
Freedom Flight is a unique representation of Schrire's generation and how they hear vocal jazz and where the sound if not the tunes will take them. This eleven track marvel has Schrire proving she is one of those rare undeniable triple threats as vocalist, producer and arranger with the end result a more organic look at a truly sublime vocalist and where she may be heading down her artistic path. Nicky Schrire is case in point that jazz much like any genre of music is an evolving medium and that there is a certain evolution of necessity that in the hands of a lesser talent is a sonic disaster simply waiting to happen but in the case of Schrire we have a vocal exploratory. An artist that moves effortless from singer to story teller with such ease and grace that the listener is almost taken by surprise.
Opening this release we have "Freedom Flight/Blackbird." Schrire's prelude to the Lennon/McCartney classic is a rare form of sonic beauty seldom heard and the as the prelude merges into "Blackbird" there is a magical organic transformation. Harmonically inventive, a special re-harmonization of the melody without disrespecting the iconic original or the artistic endeavor of Schrire. A rare gift of song. A self penned tune "Journey" fits perfectly in this mix of standard and pop classics reformulated to fit the more traditional jazz sensibilities. Schrire has a pristine vocal touch as she plays catch and release with each note. Engaging, captivating and at times enthralling - a vocal masterclass. Closing with the Bob Dylan classic " Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" gave certain cause for worry but again when in the hands of such an incredibly creative vocalist there is little cause for concern.
Re-harmonized tunes, a lyrical sense of purpose and the ability to shift dynamics on the fly has "Freedom Flight" at the very top of the mountain not just in vocal releases but in releases across the board. This London born, South African raised, Big Apple native is the real deal. A release to certainly pick up and a name to remember!
5 Huge Stars and one of the two best debuts for the year and this easily makes my best of 2012 list. A literally flawless performance from a true artist.
Tracks: Freedom Flight/Blackbird; Journey; Cosmic Love; If Ever I Would Leave You; Ode To A Folk Song; Sleep Away; The Swimming Song; E Preciso Perdoar; Me, The Mango Picker; Shower The People; Don't Think Twice, It's All Right.
Nicky Schrire: vocals; Nick Paul: piano; Sam Anning: bass; Jake Goldbasa: drums/percussion; Paul Jones: tenor sax (5,11); Jay Rattman: clarinet (6,9); Brian Adler: percussion: (7); Peter Eldridge: piano ( 4), vocals (10).
A You Tube Taste of Nicky!