160

Shifting Sands Quartet: Darkest Rose

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
First there were two, then three and now four. The U.K.-based Shifting Sands quartet has released its second album, Darkest Rose, featuring 13 songs written by original members Deborah Winter and Joanne Lander, along with Mick Hutton.

Winter is a classically trained vocalist who counts among her influences Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Patricia Barber, Ella Fitzgerald and Kurt Elling. Lander, who plays piano and keyboards, has a passion for 19th century piano music. Her influences include Davis, Barber, Bill Evans, Nick Weldon and Theo Travis. Hutton, bass and steel pan, has played more than 5,000 gigs worldwide, covering a wide variety of jazz, including Dixieland and avant-garde. The trio has been joined by Paul Robinson on drums and percussion. Robinson's experience includes playing for Van Morrison and Jan Hammer, among others.

"Darkest Rose is as its title suggests. It's part beauty, part pain with such lyrics as: "your petals shaded by tenderness but edged by a sharp twist. Winter's alto flute voice delivers the lead. Hutton contributes a bass solo that's complemented by Lander's piano. The music is mostly delightful, but darkened by Winter's lyrics. After the solos, she contributes a scat before resuming the lyrical portion.

The brief "Interlude is labeled as instrumental. Winter does offer her voice here, but it sounds more like an instrument than a human, displaying excellent tonal control and range. The track is followed by the melancholy "Solitude. Hutton and Robinson trade in their bass and drums, respectively, for steel pans and congas.

The mood lightens a bit with "Time, which takes on more of a swinging jazz mood. The rhythm shifts gears a couple of times, with Robinson smoothly switching from a straightforward hi-hat/snare beat to an up-tempo pace that employs more cymbals and toms. "Sonnet of Love gets right to the point, lyrically. Winter does sing lead, but most of the emphasis is on the instruments, including a scat by the vocalist.

Throughout most of Darkest Rose, the quartet sticks to a loose formula. Lander and Hutton co-wrote all the tracks, while Winter wrote lyrics for the songs that have them. However, in most cases, the words are few. Winter sings a verse or two, then gives way to the instruments. Each member gets turns at solos, and Winter occasionally offers some wordless vocals. Formula or not, it works.

Track Listing: Darkest Rose; The Sword of Damocles; Ribbon Man; Interlude; Solitude; Time; A Breath Away; Let the Rain Fall; Sonnet of Love; Rainbow Kaleidoscope; Boudica Rising; Silent Dream; Parallel World.

Personnel: Deborah Winter: vocals; Joanne Lander: piano, keyboards; Mick Hutton: bass, steel pan; Paul Robinson: drums, percussion.

Title: Darkest Rose | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Witchy Feelin'" CD/LP/Track Review Witchy Feelin'
by Doug Collette
Published: September 4, 2017
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Troy Collins
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Strykin’ Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Strykin’ Ahead
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Constant Change 1976-2016" CD/LP/Track Review Constant Change 1976-2016
by John Sharpe
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.