(Stories To Tell)
The composer, pianist, singer and Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London teams up with the Manila-born, now London-resident singer for this set of original Churchill songs.
The pair are both heavily involved with the London Vocal Project, an a cappella jazz choir, so they share a deep degree of empathy. The additional instrumentation to Churchill’s piano is minimal, with Ben Barritt adding guitar and some harmony vocals, Adriano Adewale some percussion and Mark Lockheart some saxophone.
The songs are very much in the singer/songwriter tradition rather than the jazz one, although their jazz sensibilities are clearly evident. They remind me most strongly of James Taylor’s work, especially when he had players like Don Grolnick in the band – just try Unbreakable Chain on Stories To Tell, and you will see what I mean.
There is a tendency towards encouraging, uplifting lyrics – “keep your head held high when you feel the world is broken” – which flirt with being cloying, but somehow the simplicity and unpretentiousness of the delivery saves them most of the time, as do Churchill’s vocal harmony arrangements.
Both Churchill and Adams are highly effective and accomplished singers, the compositions are musically solid and the contributions of Lockheart are the cherries on the top one expects of this player. Highlights include Ocean with an impeccable vocal from Adams and just the right ebb and flow in the band, the aforementioned Unbreakable Chain and the scene-setting opener, On And On We Go.
A charming, intimate, modest and friendly album.
- For more and to buy Stories To Tell online go here.
Categories: CD review