244

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra Featuring Sumudu Jayatilaka: Who's Blue?

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The National Youth Jazz Orchestra Featuring Sumudu Jayatilaka: Who's Blue? Unaccustomed as we are to hearing Great Britain’s superlative National Youth Jazz Orchestra play a supporting role, it’s for a good cause here — the debut recording of the band’s exciting young vocalist (nineteen years old when the recording was made), Sumudu Jayatilaka — and NYJO performs its assigned tasks with typical dexterity and aplomb. The problem is that the band is much better recorded than Sumudu, thus the lyrics are often hard to comprehend, especially at swifter tempos. Don’t know if it’s the mic, the mix, the venue or what, but the voice is muffled and unclear, which is not how Sumudu sounds in person. There’s a tad too much reverb, and she seems to be singing slightly off–mic. We’re told on the tray card that the band was recorded in December ’98, Sumudu’s vocals added in August ’99, and therein may lie not only the reason for the ensemble’s clarity but for Sumudu’s comparative haziness and the fact that she is sometimes overshadowed by NYJO’s powerful brass and reeds. That’s too bad, for a number of reasons: first, Sumudu is a marvelous self–taught singer, so good that NYJO asked for the chance to record this album with her; second, the songs (all originals by NYJO director Bill Ashton and others) are more often than not spectacular, reminiscent of the Golden Age of popular music and deserving of a much wider audience; third, NYJO really knows how to back a vocalist, showing on every track why it is beyond any doubt the finest young band Great Britain has to offer. I suppose what we’re saying is that Sumudu — whose career is on hold while she attends medical school — is a terrific singer with excellent vocal and emotional range and no annoying mannerisms, NYJO is outstanding, the album is first–class in almost every way. If you don’t mind listening more than once to drink in every word that’s being sung, it should easily satisfy your thirst for vocals that celebrate the good old days when the most widely used four–letter word in popular songs was “l–o–v–e.”

Contact:Stanza Music, 11 Victor Road, Harrow HA2 6PT, United Kingdom; e–mail bill.ashton@virgin.net


Track Listing: Who

Personnel: Bill Ashton, Duncan Lamont (track 6), Matt O

Title: Who's Blue? | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: NYJO


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Lockout Station" CD/LP/Track Review Lockout Station
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens" CD/LP/Track Review Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Invitation" CD/LP/Track Review Invitation
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.