Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Heather Cairncross: At Last

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
At Last is named for singer Heather Cairncross' cover version of Harry Warren and Matt Gordon's classic love song, but it may equally well serve as an exclamation of relief. This is an album that Cairncross has been thinking about making for some years. In 2011, everything came together and Cairncross was finally able to record her debut solo album, a collection of her favorite love songs. It has been worth the wait.

Cairncross is a vastly experienced singer-a member of the Swingle Singers for a decade, a session vocalist who's worked with Tony Bennett, a member of the internationally renowned Monteverdi Choir, and a regular collaborator with minimalist composer Steve Reich. She's joined on piano by David Newton, a major figure in the UK jazz scene and an 11 times winner of the British Jazz Award for Best Pianist. He's also a composer and bandleader in his own right: a musician with a superb understanding of the accompanist's role who proves to be an ideal partner for Cairncross. Together, they have crafted their own distinctive versions of classic songs.

At Last stands out not by being in thrall to futuristic technology, or by some ultimately abstruse attempt to "update" these songs. It stands out by harking back-by a return, on an emotional level, to the way many of these songs were written to be performed. There's an intimacy to the songs and the stories they tell. Almost every song on At Last is written to be sung by one person to one other. Cairncross and Newton recognize this simple fact.

When Cairncross sings "Where Or When," "Our Love Is Here To Stay"-which opens with her delightful unaccompanied alto voice and features one of Newton's rare but perfectly-judged solos-or "The Nearness Of You" she makes every word count. Her voice, technically excellent and emotionally engaging, gives each lyric a very personal perspective, as if these are her stories, not just her interpretation of others' tales. It's the mark of a great jazz vocalist.

Somewhat bizarrely, there are fans and critics who claim to have heard enough of the American Songbook. It's old hat, they say, had its day, has nothing new left to show-as if there's a "sell-by" date for songs. It may well be the case that there are too many uninspired Songbook recordings out there, but that's not the fault of the songs. Imagination and creativity can still produce new interpretations that can go straight to the emotional core of the lyric and straight to the audience's collective heart. Which is exactly what happens when Cairncross and Newton get together on At Last.

Track Listing: At Last; The Nearness Of You; When I Fall In Love; Taking A Chance On Love; I'm Glad There Is You; Our Love Is Here To Stay; Embraceable You; Where Do You Start?; I'm Old Fashioned; Remind Me; The Very Thought Of You; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?; Where Or When; Some Other Time.

Personnel: Heather Cairncross: vocals; David Newton: piano.

Title: At Last | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Bear Paw Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen CD/LP/Track Review
It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Volume One CD/LP/Track Review
Volume One
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Songs in the Key of Wonder CD/LP/Track Review
Songs in the Key of Wonder
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2018
Read SHIFTED CD/LP/Track Review
SHIFTED
by James Fleming
Published: December 12, 2018
Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read "Plays Dutch Originals" CD/LP/Track Review Plays Dutch Originals
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker" CD/LP/Track Review Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Cut The Dead Some Slack" CD/LP/Track Review Cut The Dead Some Slack
by Doug Collette
Published: March 25, 2018
Read "Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers" CD/LP/Track Review Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 6, 2018
Read "Journey" CD/LP/Track Review Journey
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 11, 2018
Read "Memory/Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Memory/Imagination
by Jim Olin
Published: May 8, 2018