All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

34

Mary May: This Is What You Are

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
When Mary May heard Sarah Vaughan sing "If I Loved You" it blew her away. "She sang in a way I had never heard anyone sing before." Then came Anita O'Day, Nancy Wilson and Marion Montgomery. They all made May yearn to follow in their footsteps.

But Scots being—famously—careful people, it took a long time before May would opt for a career as a jazz singer, scarcely the most steady of occupations.

She continued with her studies of abstract art at Leeds Polytechnic and it wasn't until she attracted the attention of legendary American jazz vocalist Mark Murphy, who lives mostly in the UK, that she finally took the plunge.

Scots being—famously—serious, hard working people, May struggled tirelessly to establish herself, playing all the gigs she could get, including the Edinburgh Fringe, largest arts festival in the world.

Her vocal abilities—in particular her delicate phrasing and fine sense of timing—allowed her to attract a really solid accompanying band. They are with her on this, her first album.

Songs range from Wayne Shorter's "Black Nile" to Italian soul singer Mario Biondi's "This Is What You Are," with all stops in between.

"The Way You Look Tonight" begins and ends with what sounds like waves breaking on the shore. When asked about this, Scots being—famously—taciturn people, May responded, "Yes, it is waves."

All the songs are extremely well crafted but the album suffers—perhaps inevitably —from being just that wee bit too careful. Bernard Ighner's anthem "Everything Must Change" in particular cries out for some passionate abandon... doesn't get it.

There are some nice breaks by pianist Alan King and Colin Black on guitar and solid work throughout by bassist Ray Leonard, who wrote all but one of the arrangements.

At the end of the day, one can only wish the lady well. To use the vernacular: Mary, lang may yer lum reek.

Track Listing: Black Nile; Watching Me, Watching You; Meet Me, Midnight; Late. Late Show; Kisses In The Rain; Jeannine; Sunday Kind Of Love; The Way You Look Tonight; I Love Being Here With You; Where Were You When I Needed You; Everything Must Change; This Is What You Are.

Personnel: Mary May: vocals; Alan King: piano, Hammond organ; Colin Black: guitar; Eddie McGovern: trombone; Craig Dawson: alto saxophone; Alan Haggart: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ray Leonard: bass; Jim Gardner: drums.

Title: This is What You Are | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Stanley Clarke Band: The Message" CD/LP/Track Review Stanley Clarke Band: The Message
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 26, 2018
Read "Perception" CD/LP/Track Review Perception
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore" CD/LP/Track Review The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 12, 2018
Read "Please Advise" CD/LP/Track Review Please Advise
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 5, 2018
Read "Cut The Dead Some Slack" CD/LP/Track Review Cut The Dead Some Slack
by Doug Collette
Published: March 25, 2018
Read "Thicker Than Water" CD/LP/Track Review Thicker Than Water
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 13, 2018