120

Pete Churchill Trio featuring Bobby Wellins: The Bad And The Beautiful

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Pete Churchill Trio featuring Bobby Wellins: The Bad And The Beautiful Vocalists get a mixed press reaction in the jazz world. Most of us probably enjoy Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway's well-charged, hipster encoded genius, and Billie Holiday's survivor vibe pulls in almost as big a crowd. But from there on in there are two, seemingly irreconcilable tribes: one which loves vocalists, another which loathes and despises them.

The divide has probably been made wider by the current crop of over-produced jazz-lite twenty-somethings, marketed by the majors as saviours of the great American songbook. Easy on the eye and full of enthusiasm they may be, but most of these artists are simply too young and too callow to carry the material with any real conviction. Songs by the likes of Jimmy Van Heusen, Frank Loesser and Harold Arlen—three of the classic songbook composers featured on this album—tend to have more sophisticated, slower burning lyrics than the "I want to fuck your brains out" message at the root of today's chart oeuvre, and a twenty-something is unlikely to have lived enough life to get inside them.

But it's not all easy listening dreck out there. This swinging, musicianly and refreshingly under-produced album by British pianist/vocalist Pete Churchill deserves to make some converts. A sort of grown-up Jamie Cullum, Churchill has a warm, rough-edged, lived-in voice which brings added resonance to the lyrics. He's also a lyrical and unusually responsive accompanist—Mark Murphy's pianist of choice whenever the American is working in the UK.

Churchill is accompanied here by his regular colleagues Steve Watts and Dave Wickins, a rock solid team—and the great tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins guests beautifully on half the tracks. It's a simple and spontaneous affair, and all the better for it. "Good songs don't need to be diluted, revamped or arranged to death," says Churchill, "they will sing themselves if you let them."

The Bad And The Beautiful was actually recorded in autumn of '01, after Churchill's partner Nikki Iles—another seriously good British jazz pianist—booked the studio as a surprise fortieth birthday present for Churchill. A better slice of post-prandial Christmas listening is hard to imagine.

And if Churchill doesn't mind shaving his legs, slipping into a dress and a blonde wig and raising his voice a couple of octaves, he could make some real money.


Track Listing: Nancy With The Laughing Face; Spring Will be A Little Late This Year; Nice 'n' Easy; I've Made Up My Mind; I Keep Going Back to Joe's - Learning The Blues; The Morning After; Lucky So And So; I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Let's Get Lost; Ocean; Theme From The Bad And The Beautiful.

Personnel: Pete Churchill, piano and vocals; Steve Watts, double bass; Dave Wickins, drums; Bobby Wellins, tenor saxphone on "Nancy With The Laughing Face," "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year," "I Keep Going Back To Joe's - Learning The Blues," "Let's Get Lost" and "Ocean."

Year Released: 2004 | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Preston Glasgow Lowe" CD/LP/Track Review Preston Glasgow Lowe
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Life After Life" CD/LP/Track Review Life After Life
by Troy Collins
Published: March 5, 2016
Read "Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 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!