Born in Melbourne, Australia, but resident in London since 2011, Tara Minton is a harpist, vocalist and song writer who straddles the boundary between jazz and contemporary composition. She has an interestingly eclectic musical history; she previously played with Melbourne Opera for some years and also toured with Björk. Please Do Not Ignore the Mermaid is her second album following The Tides of Love (Self Produced, 2016). It is no coincidence that both album titles have watery connections; Minton grew up by the ocean and felt a close affinity with the sea. Living in London meant that rather than lying in the ocean to compose this album, she actually did so in her bath tub.
The results were recorded at Crown Lane Studio, in the spring of 2020, with Minton's voice and harp being joined by her co-producer Phil Merriman on piano, Ed Babar on bass, David Ingamells on drums and Tommaso Starace on soprano saxophone. Right from the first notes of the opening track, "We Sing For Each Other," the five create an unworldly atmosphere which perfectly fits the mermaid subject matter, with Minton's ethereal vocals, sighing and whispering to the fore. In complete contrast, but just as beguiling, are prolonged, fluid interjections from Starace's soprano sax which weave into the fabric of the trackand other tracks, notably "Undine, Undying" emphasizing the music's jazz credentials.
Minton is credited with writing all the songs here, the sole exception being "The Origin of the Harp" which sets to music the title poem by the Irish poet Thomas Moore (1780-1852), three verses of which are sung by Minton and one recited by Tom Nancollas, underpinned by economical but effective piano and bass alongside Minton's harp. After "Eugénie," a prolonged feature for harp, Minton flaunts her own jazz credentials with "Skin," a sexy and sassy vocal performance worthy of many a jazz diva, accompanied by walking bass and a tight piano solo.
As well as the aforementioned Starace, "Undine Undying" features another pithy piano solo from Merriman and a punchy drum solo from Ingamells, plus Minton's wordless vocals. On the title track, she returns to lyrics with a narrative which carries a strong eco-friendly message, before the track is driven to a barnstorming riff by piano and drums. The final track, "Starfish," combines voice, harp and bass and brings the album to a memorable end, aided by yet more impressive solos from piano and sax. Based on this album, Minton seems assured of a bright future, provided she and this band stick together.
We Sing for Each Other; The Origin of the Harp; Eugénie; Skin; Undine Undying; Please Do Not Ignore the
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