Home » Jazz Articles » Edel Meade: Blue Fantasia

6

Album Review

Edel Meade: Blue Fantasia

By

Sign in to view read count
Edel Meade: Blue Fantasia
Although Edel Meade has graced the Irish jazz scene for a decade Blue Fantasia is the singer's debut album. Meade has honed her craft under the tutelage of Sheila Jordan, Bobby McFerrin, Norma Winstone and New York Voices and is a respected jazz vocal teacher in her own right. Her Edel Sings Julien Colarossi and Johnny Taylor in particular afforded plenty of room, both as colourists and improvisers. Linley Hamilton's contributions on the sultry, midnight confessional "Sideways" and the Norah Jones-esque "I Thought It Was You" are less pronounced but the trumpeter lends undeniable warmth. Tommy Gray parades an array of textures on sticks, brushes, mallets and cajon, while Kevin Higgins' electric bass ostinatos infuse songs old and new with a contemporary edge.

Several of these tunes have been maturing in Meade's live shows for a number of years; the gently bossa nova tinged "I Tried to Take His Life" is as thematically curious—death in the kitchen sink—as it is musically seductive, with Meade's vocal, as caressing as a summer breeze, lent sympathetic support by Hamilton and Taylor; the singer is quietly commanding on the aching ballad "Love Lost"—recorded by Scott Flanigan on Point of Departure (Self-Produced, 2015)—where the faint crackling of needle coupling with vinyl at the outset and the tinny, radio broadcast effect towards the end add an air of melancholy and nostalgia.

There's vim and verve in Meade's arrangements of Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" and Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight"—old chestnuts polished anew. On the latter, Meade steers the music between buoyant groove and floating abstraction, with Gray's animation and Colarossi's electric solo adding bite. Wayne Shorter's "Iris" inspires original lyrics from Meade, and her layered, harmonized vocals, combined with cajon, guitar and trumpet, makes for an highly personal interpretation.

Meade delves into sassy R&B on "Blind Eye," Colarossi tuning into the vibe with a telling solo over funk bass and electric piano comping. There's a pansori feel to the dry drum-beat intro to "Blue Fantasia," a bold stylistic departure from Meade that marries minimalist impressionism—sighing cymbals, tinkling percussion, echoing gong—with spoken word intimacies. From the brooding title track to the boogie of "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough." Here, Meade's teasingly slow delivery converts a dance-floor classic into an irresistibly sexy grind, infused with bluesy tones and infectious hand-claps of suggestive rhythm. Wind chimes and stream-like shaker impose a state of reverie at the outset of "Beyond the Coda," though drums, electric piano and guitar inject gently coursing pulse beneath Meade's lulling improvisation.

There's not a weak track in these dozen, stylistically varied, artfully crafted compositions. On "Iris," Meade sings: 'This is your time to shine.' So too, it seems for Meade, for with Blue Fantasia Meade confidently announces herself as a composer, interpreter and singer of notable talent, and one increasingly following her own muse.

Track Listing

Sideways; Cheek to Cheek; Love Lost; Prelude; ‘Round Midnight; I Tried To Take His Life; Blind Eye; Blue Fantasia; Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough; I Thought It Was You; Iris; Beyond The Coda

Personnel

Edel Meade; voice, piano (3 - intro), percussion; Julie Colarossi: guitars; Johnny Taylor; Rhodes, piano; Kevin Higgins: electric bass; Tommy Gray: drums, cajon; Linley Hamilton: trumpet; Dave McCune: güiro (4).

Album information

Title: Blue Fantasia | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

The Pan American Nutcracker Suite
Joe McCarthy's New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band
Gordon Grdina's The Twain feat. Dōjō and...
Gordon Grdina's The Twain feat. Dōjō and...
Senkya Padna
Bodurov Trio

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.