"I love the human race," sings Lauren Bush on the opening track of All My Treasures, Bob Dorough's life-affirming "I've Got Just About Everything I Need." It's a positive sentiment, just one brief moment on an album that bursts with positivity, an album that sounds like the product of a mature and very experienced artist. Surprisingly, it's the debut release from a singer who's yet to reach 30 years of age.
Bushborn in Canada and now based in Londonis joined by an excellent trio, of pianist and arranger Liam Dunachie, bassist Andrew Robb and drummer David Ingamells on a collection of jazz standards (with one exception). Producer Ian Shawno mean performer himselfbrings his wealth of experience to the recordings as well.
"I've Got Just About Everything I Need" opens proceedings at a pretty frenetic pace, showcasing Bush's strong yet evocative vocal style. She swings and scats with panache, her delivery ensuring that every word is clear and precise. The similarly fast-paced "I'm Old Fashioned" re-establishes Bush's vocal credentials: there's also a musical contrast between the lyric and Brandon Allen's modernist tenor playing, before Dunachie's genuinely "old-fashioned" closing piano.
"A, You're Adorable" can easily fill a listener's ears with treacle. Bush treats it with respect, but her voiceand Donachie's refreshingly original arrangementgive it a knowing humor. It's still a tad cheesy, but Bush adds a certain ambiguitydoes she really mean it or is she taking the mick? Slowing down and delivering more romantic and downbeat numbersthe lovely versions of "Charade" and "Detour Ahead" for exampleBush remains in command, projecting the songs' emotional shifts and turns with subtlety.
Three guest horn players make welcome contributions. Trombonist Kieran McLeod's solo on "Dindi" heightens the song's warmth and romance. Allen's swinging tenor is especially notable on "Secret Love" when the pace suddenly drops and Allen and bassist Robb share a brief, mid-tempo, duet. All three horn players join in on "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter," giving the tune a relaxed big-band feel.
In amongst all of these jazz standards, "Feelin' Alright" comes as a bit of a (pleasant) surprise. Written by Dave Mason, it's probably best known as recorded by Traffic in the late-60s: despite the title, lyrically it's not a feelgood song. Bush's version (arranged by Dunachie and Shaw, with Dunachie on electric piano) is stripped-back, accentuating the funky rhythm and the vocal interplay between Bush and Shaw. It closes the album with a nod towards the Woodstock generation and a hint of the breadth and depth of Bush's influences. All My Treasures is a great first outing and Bush is one of the freshest and most exciting vocalists to appear on the scene for some time.
I've Got Just About Everything I Need; I'm Old Fashioned; Dindi; Secret Love; A, You're Adorable; I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter; Detour Ahead; Charade; Sweet Georgia Brown; Doodlin'; You're Nearer; Feelin' Alright.
Lauren Bush: vocals; Liam Dunachie: piano, Fender Rhodes (5); Wurlitzer electric piano (12); Andrew Robb: acoustic bass; David Ingamells: drums; Miguel Gorodi: trumpet (6, 9), flugelhorn (8); Brandon Allen: tenor saxophone (2, 4, 6, 7, 9); Kieran McLeod: trombone (3, 6, 9); Ian Shaw: background vocals (12).