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Matthew Ruddick

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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Sunday, 12 April 2020 00:17

Noemi Nuti - Venus Eye

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London-based vocalist Noemi Nuti re-signs to the Ubuntu record label for her second album, Venus Eye.

Born in New York City and of Italian descent, Noemi Nuti is a well-established jazz vocalist based in London. 

Noemi's fascination with jazz started in 2008 when she joined Jazz Alive, a project for young musicians led by Tomorrow's Warriors that included Soweto Kinch and a very-very busy Orphy Robinson.  

Following the success of Noemi's first album, Noemi explains "Venus Eye is the expression of a three-year journey I started in 2017. After the success of my debut album, Nice to Meet You, I decided to take some time off to go on an artistic, emotional and musical quest. I was lucky enough to spend this time listening, researching, practising and rediscovering my love for song-form and the harp".   

I can vouch that this time away, this hiatus was time well spent refocusing her skills. The results speak for themselves.

Noemi works with a tight unit consisting of vinyl collector and tutor Emiliano Caroselli on drums. Emiliano is an avid fan of Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. Max moved to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban percussion and drum set at the E.N.A. National School of Art in Havana from 1998-2001. 

Emiliano, if you, are reading this, we may have to talk!

Seasoned musician Tom Herbert is on bass (Polar Bear, Invisible Toshio Matsuura Group). This man knows about what's happening on the London music scene and is a perfect fit for this 5-piece collective.  

The line-up is incredibly impressive and crescendos from strength to strength with composer, arranger and flautist Gareth Lockrane. I know Gareth more for his big band album Fistfight at the Barn Dance (2017). He was also winner of the Mojo Magazine Jazz album of the year 2012.

Another-big band scholar of the arts Chris Eldred also features on this album. A stoic musician respected for his unassuming approach to music having studied at the Trinity College of Music. 

What a line-up!  As my jazz musos and fans of Paul Whitehouse's 'Jazz Club' would say - "Nice".

Let's get back to Noemi. After all, this is her album. If you have not heard Noemi sing, think - extremely talented, innovative, versatile and passionate.

Check out this performance from 2014 delivering smooth and balanced vocals for the Sérgio Santos Mendes Latin classic Mas Que Nada. That was a good show. Now compare that to today's achievement. The progression is astounding! 

As I listen to this critically acclaimed artist, who has received excellent and positive reviews from other popular music journals, I instinctively acknowledge her passion and see where she is going. There certainly is no 'going through the motions'. Noemi drives this collective all the way. The album is in itself a music journal, and It's not often I rate an album with 5 stars. 

I have an excitement for the light up-tempo contemporary folk sentiment in Beautiful LifeThe melody bounces along with that happy feeling and the lyrics interlock with the patterns of the tunes. This is lovely music-vocal D.N.A. sequencing. It should be a science as well as art.  

What I See delivers a compelling vocal structure over the smooth shuffled tempo of the drums and the fresh upright bass. This would be an acoustic performance I would love to see.  I suspect it would be challenging for backing vocals to achieve such a high degree of harmonisation that is pleasing, warm and comforting. This is a very contemporary and groovy tune.

Take a listen to What I See here: 

A smooth tom drum intro accompanied by the raindrop patters of the very soothing piano.  I Will Remember Is the exemplar of the controlled, warm and sustained rich tones. The melody is strong. You know it's a modern tune, yet it plays like a classic standard. Nice!

Crazy Dance has an element of Latin fused with Italian happiness. I love the intro with its vocalisation as embodied by Judy Roberts and Cleo Lane. This vocals dance on a flowing rhythm. The flautist, Gareth Lockrane executes a crisp performance. His style reminds me of Chick Corea's flautist who played on the Friends album - Joe Farrell. Quite possibly my favourite tune from this fantastic album.

Take a listen to Crazy Dance here:

If you like Gretchen Parlotto, the American Grammy-nominated Jazz vocalist, then Nevermind may well be the prophecy of what is yet in store for this talented musician. The lyrics are uncomplicated and transparent. The phrasing is perfect and the overall feeling, haunting yet tranquil. 

This album has a lot to say and a lot to give. 11 tracks that are all worthy of inclusion.

Read 3418 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 April 2020 08:36

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