Emily Jane Roberts: The Persistence Of Memory

The guitarist, a Guildhall graduate and BBC young jazz semi-finalist, recalls the Brecker Brothers, Pat Martino and more in her debut EP


As an alumnus of both Chetham’s School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and as a semi-finalist in 2020’s BBC Young Jazz Musician awards, Emily Jane Roberts has begun her career with an impressive curriculum vitae.

This extended play, five-track debut release showcases her talents as a composer and instrumentalist. The title track is taken from her April 2022 single, released on Bandcamp, featuring the winsome vocals of Alice McCarthy, also a Guildhall alumnus. 

Whilst the opener, I’ll Tell You How The Sun Rose, is notable for its relative lack of audible guitar after the opening head, its seductive arrangement compensates for that omission. Meanwhile the funky Mean Time has a Brecker Brothers feel emphasised by Harry Toulson’s satisfyingly fulsome tenor solo.

Whilst four of the five tunes on the EP are Roberts compositions, the outlier is a cover of Pat Martino’s Welcome To A Prayer. Here the guitarist acquits herself with aplomb, offering a sensitive reading of the timeless ballad. The closer, Relaxin’ At The Underbelly, a nominal nod perhaps to Charlie Parker’s Relaxin’ At Camarillo, is a staccato-infused bop meets funk outing, Roberts investing it with an engagingly steely guitar solo.

Whilst this recording is intentionally short on length it’s long on promise of things to come.

I’ll Tell You How The Sun Rose; The Persistence Of Memory; Mean Time; Welcome To A Prayer; Relaxin’ At The Underbelly (22.07)
Roberts (elg); Alice McCarthy (v); Georgie Proctor (f); Harry Toulson (ts); Sultan Stevenson (kyb); Tim Davies (syn); Rory Hudson (b); Dave Adsett (d). London, 2021.
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