JAZZ ALBUM REVIEWS IN THE AUSTRALIAN
In September, 2017 Eric Myers commenced reviewing jazz albums in the Review supplement of The Weekend Australian. All reviews in this folder are written by Myers.
Kate Ceberano & Paul Grabowsky
Published in the Weekend Australian, May 18, 2019
Tryst brings together two Australian musical icons in a fertile collaboration, effectively combining the proven commercial appeal of singer Kate Ceberano with the keyboard mastery of a celebrated jazz musician Paul Grabowsky. Ceberano is not a complete jazz singer – she does not improvise, nor indulge in wordless vocals - but her considerable strengths are palpable here: a gorgeous voice, authoritative phrasing, and a feel for lyrics that renders them truthful. In Make You Feel My Love, she sings “I could hold you for a million years” so tenderly that one feels she means it. It’s significant that the latter is a big hit from the pop singer Adele. In a repertoire brimming with quality, Ceberano takes on some of the more esoteric songs that have emerged in popular music over recent years, including Wild Is The Wind (previously best-known for versions by Nina Simone and David Bowie); Leon Russell’s A Song For You; Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne; the Divinyls’ I Touch Myself; Bob Dylan’s Forever Young; and others. Great versions of such songs are already in the collective memory, and only a brave vocalist would take them on in such a highly exposed setting, backed only by solo piano. Still, with nowhere to hide, Ceberano brings the project off with considerable aplomb. The multi-talented Grabowsky is a tower of strength, his accompaniments incisive and sparse when required, and orchestral when passion in the music calls for a fuller sound. Blessed with the keyboard touch and melodic sensibility we associate with great jazz pianists such as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, he provides introductions, interludes and improvisations, where he moves through the harmonic changes in masterly fashion. For the purist jazz fan, he provides the album’s chief interest. While not wishing to snap at the heels of two such distinguished artists, there is an aberration in the medley For Cilla, Ceberano’s tribute to Cilla Black. In Burt Bacharach’s This Girl’s In Love With You the chosen key is a little too high for Ceberano’s voice, and there are uncomfortable moments as she strains to hit the top notes of the melody. I am surprised that the producers (Mal Stanley and Grabowksy himself) did not rectify this admittedly minor oversight.