Pianist and composer Simon Latarche has been very active on the performance front but has not released new music since his self-produced Cornish Preludes, Book II (Pentreath Music, 2012). As he did on that album's prequel, Latarche worked in a septet format, closing each album with a revealing solo piano piece. Though he tours with several formations, much of his recent work has been in a trio format where his fine playing receives more attention. In 2017 Latarche began working with a vocalist, first as an occasional guest, and now as a featured performer, sharing the billing on their EP Honeymoon.
Singer and songwriter Lucy O'Day, like Latarche, is based in Cornwall, on England's beautiful southwestern coast. The lack of press would indicate that she is in the early stages of her career. Honeymoon should bring her well-deserved recognition, for her voice, which has been fairly compared to Nina Simone, Norah Jones and others, (Nellie McKay sometimes comes to mind), is chameleon-like, giving each of the four pieces an entirely different personality. The trio is rounded out by bassist Sam Norman and drummer Keith Marshall.
Two of the tracks on Honeymoon are reworkings of the previously mentioned solo piano pieces. Initially titled "Bonemimori," this new version is called "Colour in Grey," in line with O'Day's lyrics, and it is a moving accolade to Latarche's original instrumental. Latarche's beautifully understated piano and O'Day's smokey reading make this an instantly memorable song with the sophistication of a jazz standard and the hook of a pop hit. O'Day has also added lyrics to "Nebra Sky," an emotive ballad that showcases the soulful side of the singer's malleable voice. The title track and "Gotta Get Back" are both infectiously swinging pieces.
Latarche is overdue for wider recognition and perhaps this collaboration with O'Day will lead to a breakthrough. Honeymoon is a true partnership between a highly engaging vocalist and terrific pianist; the rhythm section, while reserved, is excellent throughout. Here's hoping for another recording from this outstanding group.
Honeymoon; Colour in Grey; Nebra Sky; Gotta Get Back.
Lucy O’Day: vocals; Simon Latarche: piano; Sam Norman: double bass; Keith Marshall: drums.