This is the second album from Canadian-born, London-resident Lauren Bush and I can reassure admirers that there has been no decline in quality. Three of the six musicians – Liam Dunachie, piano, David Ingamells, drums, and Miguel Gorodi, trumpet, who accompanied Ms Bush on her 2016 debut album All My Treasures – are back for a second bite at the cherry supplemented by Conor Chaplin, bass, and Fliss Gorst, tenor, with the absence of trombone reducing a sextet to a quintet.
A second reduction is the number of tracks – 10 as opposed to 12 – and if we take into account that Ms Bush produces these albums herself, underwriting all the expenses, it’s feasible to speculate that cost is a factor. Yet another difference is the material; whilst All My Treasures offered a round dozen semi-standards, Dream Away divides its 10 selections equally into five well-known entries by veteran tunesmiths and five newer titles.
As with the first album the musicians complement the voice to a fare-thee-well and are well drilled. Ms Bush’s skill lies in selecting entries that are well known as opposed to well worn; the earliest title is In A Mellotone by Duke Ellington and Milt Gabler, the latest is The Shadow Of Your Smile, written for the film The Sandpiper by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster after Johnny Mercer’s song actually called The Sandpiper was rejected.
You Stepped Out Of A Dream was one of the last lyrics Gus Kahn ever wrote. It was featured in the MGM film Ziegfeld Girl in 1941 and Kahn died in October of that same year. Six years later the Broadway show Finian’s Rainbow was chock full of hits including If This Isn’t Love, which is track three here. The last of the five well-known titles, Tom Wolfe and Fran Landesman’s Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, was as ubiquitous in jazz circles in the 60s as How High The Moon and Lullaby Of Birdland had been in the 40s and 50s respectively.
From the very first downbeat on track one it is crystal clear that this is a jazz album of the highest quality in which the musicians are given equal time with the vocalist, who is as at home on a ballad as a bouncer and equally adept at scatting. With luck it will find its audience.
You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Dream Away; If This Isn’t Love; The Shadow Of Your Smile; Keep It To Yourself; Blackfriars; You’re Ev’rything; In A Mellotone; Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most; Hopelessly Devoted To You (63.50)
Bush (v); Liam Dunachie (p); Conor Chaplin (b); David Ingamells (d); Miguel Gorodi (t); Fliss Gorst (ts); Fish Factory Studios, England, August, 2020.