This is Julia Werup’s first recording as a jazz singer, her previous experience being in house music, the DJ scene and spoken performance poetry. She is a poet and self-trained singer. A glance at the selections here will indicate her inspirations for this project. In case of doubt though the music here was written by or associated with, Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Abbey Lincoln, Dave Brubeck, Billie Holiday and Mel Tormé.
Her soft focus, somewhat ethereal voice sails quietly through Blackbird and The Thrill Is Gone with a backing consisting of piano, bass, drums and electronic programming. Drummer Blachman is responsible for the electronics and although they add a touch of other worldly atmospherics, at times you might feel the songs would have been better played straight. A good example is The Touch Of Your Lips, which is sung in laidback but lyric manner with straightahead rhythm backing and turns out to be the best track on offer. Most of this reading is by just bass and drums backing Julia but the pianist gets a short, telling solo near the end. Close behind is Born To Be Blue, which has a gloomy but well-phrased vocal and straight, flowing rhythmic backing.
Julia gives a sombre performance on Holiday’s Gloomy Sunday and croons through Afro Blue as bassist Johnny Aman switches to electric bass and increases the dramatics. Many of these tracks receive a complete vocal reading followed by a short instrumental workout. Pianist Lundeqvist has an ultra-light touch.
Julia’s voice is soft and seductive and she has a unique manner of delivery which works well on some of these songs. Add the approach and playing of the trio and Blachman’s arrangements and the result is an original programme of vocal jazz. Good for late-night listening but not if you are feeling low or despondent. Good sound on both formats.
Blackbird; The Thrill Is Gone; The Touch Of Your Lips; Take Five/New York; Gloomy Sunday; Afro Blue; Born To Be Blue; Ne Me Quitte Pas/Lanna Inte Mig (39.15)
Werup (v); Johnny Aman (b); Thomas Blachman (d); Sven Erik Lundeqvist (p). Copenhagen, August 2019.
Stunt STULP 20031 & STUCD 20032