Norma Winstone - Stories To Tell

  • Mikekan


    ACA Member

    Album Title: Stories Yet To Tell
    Performers: Norma Winstone vocals, Klaus Gesing bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, Glauco Venier piano
    Label: ECM
    Playing time: 52'13"
    Recorded: December 2009, Arte Suono Studio, Udine - Italy.

    British jazz vocalist Norma Winstone definitely remains in good shape and seems not to entertain thoughts of retirement despite an already very long musical career. It’s a chance for all of her fans to remain active. The last decade has proved quite the musical heaven for this 70-year young artist and her previous album Distances was awarded in France and in Germany and even nominated for the Grammies.

    The styling of Norma Winstone remains unique and this latest album with an eclectic repertoire gathers together Jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, mediaeval music and particular tributes to Wayne Shorter, Mexican composer Armando Manzanero, the Armenian mystic Komitas and lyrics by Winstone herself. The other protagonists are familiar sidemen - reedman Klaus Gesing and Italian pianist Glauco Vernier. This trio already met less than ten years ago on 2002's Chamber Music before minting gold with the release of Distances in 2008. This ECM production is no surprise and all the wooden sonorities of the bass clarinet and warm keyboard embraces plus the vocalist’s aerated upper-range tonalities add up to a very intimate and ethereal climate for these Stories Yet To Tell.

    Klaus Gesing delivers a stunning performance and demonstrates rare ability to fade into Winstone’s voice whilst controlling each crescendo. The bass clarinet and soprano sax blend effortlessly with the vocalist as in the introduction of "Lipe Rosiže", drawing captivating arabesques all around her floating voice that would make saxophonist Jan Garbarek proud. The drowsily compelling voice of Norma Winstone always entrusts the best artistic realizations to narrative songs. The natural melancholic gravity of her voice creates true emotion and most evidently serves the lyricist's very personal intimacies.

    We are admittedly a bit far from previous wordless vocal acrobatics but this more seamless integration with her two sidemen creates peaceful harmony between three artistic equals. Thus instrumental and compositional aspects have greater emphasis on the final result, with three differentiated interpretations of the same story by three participants only further highlighting the essence of each song and lyrics.

    Stories Yet To Tell is undoubtedly one of Norma Winstone's best albums and a beautiful extension of the stories already told by this very trio. I keep a very particular recording of the first time that I listened to her Somewhere Called Home LP. I have since bought the CD issue and always kept a special place in my heart for this great lady of British Jazz.

    Joel Chevassus


    1  27 Oct 2011  
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