Jessica Radcliffe: Remembrance

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Jazz and the commitment to remembrance might not seem the likeliest combination, but then something like that was probably once written of jazz and Under Milk Wood.

That this programme is so moving in an era when positive collective actions are so few and far between is no small tribute to the musicians involved. The title track leaves no doubt as to the viability of the idea, moving as it does from Radcliffe’s poignant sounding of the last post to a beautifully integrated tenor sax solo from Mark Lockheart.

Unsurprisingly every song in this set lyrically goes way beyond what have with repetition become the banal platitudes written about love, but “Mr. Anonymous” touches psychological depths that are an antithesis of moons in June. Radcliffe both sings and reads the lyric, and while in many cases such an approach might sound pretentious, here it’s carried off with notable aplomb, and that pleasing phenomenon of integrated singer and band is ours to hear.

Yer actual jazz hack has reservations about star ratings and probably always will, but in this case the fourth star’s been added because limiting it to three would I feel have placed this release within the often unexceptional swathe of much “new” jazz. There’s more than that term implies going on here, and the greater depth is both moving and, in its way, not without profundity.

Discography
(1) Remembrance; Dulce et Decorum; (2) There’s a Long, Long Trail; Mr. Anonymous; Little Boy Lost; (3) Jack – Jack; (2) By a Bierside; (1) I Would Rather Be a Rebel; (2) Over the Top; And When They Ask Us (54.33)
(1) Radcliffe (v); Tom Dennis (t); Mark Lockheart (ts); Sam James (p); Joe Downard (b); Will Glaser (d). (2) Radcliffe, Dennis, James, Downward, Glaser. (3) as (1), but Lockheart (bcl). Ardingly, 8, 14 June 2017.
Ubuntu Music 0016