25

Beverley Beirne & Her Quartet: Seasons Of Love

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Beverley Beirne & Her Quartet: Seasons Of Love What gives a song the status of "standard"? One thing might be its popularity with musicians and fans. Most of the dozen songs on Seasons Of Love are standards that range from the popular to the extremely popular. Another characteristic may be a song's malleability: its capacity for almost infinite re-imaginings; a something that often gets forgotten, as singers rarely move outside the comfort zone of familiarity nearly enough. Beverley Beirne sticks to the familiar much of the time, albeit with style, but she's also willing to take a bit of a chance, a willingness that helps to ensure the success of this Yorkshire-based singer's debut.

Beirne follows a direct line from some of the finest jazz vocalists—her phrasing on Sam Coslow's "Beware My Heart" resembles Margaret Whiting, while her precise diction and lower register tone is close to Dame Cleo Laine. This is not to suggest that she's a mere copyist; rather, that she has taken care to learn from the best. There is an occasional harshness to her voice in its upper register, which could have benefited from some softening during recording, but she can swing and invest a lyric with honest emotion.

Pianist Graham Hearn, a fine accompanist, is responsible for most of the arrangements on Seasons Of Love. His arrangements are consistently high quality, sympathetic to the narrative and emotion of each song and making excellent use of the quartet's instrumental lineup. He keeps things simple on "You Must Believe In Spring," which also features some gentle brush work from drummer Ronnie Bottomley, along with bassist Ian Mann's quiet, fluid, line and Hearn's own piano underpinning of one of Beirne's finest performances. "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" gets a swinging, upbeat chart and a strong quartet performance. Tenor saxophonist Mike Cox is also a stimulating presence; his tight, precise, playing complements Beirne's voice whenever he appears, and he takes two outstanding solos on "Slow Hot Wind" and "Something Good."

When Beirne co-arranges, as she does on "Walk On By" and Richard Rodgers' "Something Good," there's a noticeably original approach to the lyrics of the songs, a shift in mood or narrative that really showcases a new perspective. On "Something Good," she eschews the oft-used apologetic approach, instead sounding almost proud of the "wicked childhood" that was eventually absolved by some occasional altruism.

One of the finest reworks of a classic song came from '70s rockers The Stranglers. The band's version of Bacharach and David's "Walk On By" was a snarling, contemptuous, attack—with one of the finest bass lines ever forced onto the American Songbook. Beirne's version isn't so radical (although, like The Stranglers, she makes no attempt to include the staccato rhythm guitar chords so central to Dionne Warwick's version), but her decision to slow things down and emphasize the lyric's intense sadness results in a truly memorable version of the song.

Beirne and her quartet have put together a tight, enjoyable, set of songs, a more than competent first outing. But it's her willingness to innovate and take new approaches to some of these classics,that really holds promise for the future and makes Seasons Of Love such a promising debut.


Track Listing: Beautiful Love; Beware My Heart; You And The Night And The Music; Happy Talk; Something Good; Slow Hot Wind; The End Of A Love Affair; Devil May Care; Walk On By; You're Looking At Me; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; You Must Believe In Spring.

Personnel: Beverley Beirne: vocals; Graham Hearn: piano; Mike Cox: tenor saxophone; Ian Mann: bass; Ronnie Bottomley: drums; Adrian Knowles: bass (4, 8, 9).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "A Tribute to Herbie +1" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Herbie +1
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "Bathysphere" CD/LP/Track Review Bathysphere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Brooklyn Blowhards" CD/LP/Track Review Brooklyn Blowhards
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Guilty Saints" CD/LP/Track Review Guilty Saints
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!