Sunday, 23 January 2011

Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen - '....for the ghosts within'

In which National Treasure (Sir - if there was any justice) Robert Wyatt collaborates with clarinetist & saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and violinist & string quartet leader Ros Stephen on an album of gorgeous covers of jazz standards and ballads and self composed tunes from the Wyatt/Benge stable.

Robert Wyatt is in possession of a voice given by the angels and a melodic sensibility few have equalled, which often lends his unique musical vision, a kind of hybrid folk-jazz-ethnic stew, an other-worldly feel.

This album is probably more traditional in construct than some of his work, and his voice coats the sweetbread of lush string arrangements and winsome clarinet and saxophone soundscapes like a low fat chocolate spread. There are some swoonsome songs on this album, and the old (In A Sentimental Mood, What A Wonderful World, Laura) blend seamlessly with the new (the haunting title track, Maryan, Lullaby For Irena). Wyatt also revisits one of his more well known ethereal covers, Chic's At Last I Am Free, and follows it with album closer What A Wonderful World, a combination that brings a tear to the eye.

Anyone whose heartstrings are not tugged every which way by this lovely album is either deaf to poetry or too mired in cynicism for their own good. Buy this now!

5 out of 5

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