**** A delightful collection between singers Trudy Kerr and Ingrid James with both singers demonstrating not only near telepathic sense of vocal interplay but also adroit interpretive skills.
Charles Waring, Record Collector, Nov 2010
**** Exuberant vocal jazz from two Aussie songbirds radiating old-school hip and dexterity. Featuring fresh Geoff Gascoyne arrangements and adaptations of Mulligan, Corea, Don Cherry and Bud Powell material, the music is delievered with cool unisons, tight harmonies, and pin-sharp vocalese, Sweet, swinging, sassy, plus a hint of tartness from Tom Cawley's edgy piano.
Chris Ingham, Mojo, Nov 2010
**** Australian singers Trudy Kerr and Ingrid James worked together regularly in Oz two decades ago and despite Kerr settling in London, have enjoyed parallel careers. Listening to this CD - very much a 21st century affair as it was rehearsed over Skype - you'd never realise that they hadn't collaborated regularly in so long. Their voices work together a treat, weaving round each other, harmonising with each other and sharing the spotlight throughout. The songs are a mix of numbers by contemporary writers and vocalese tunes with a couple of old classics thrown in.
Alison Kerr, The Scotsman, Aug 2010
Australian singer Trudy Kerr has been active on the local scene as both an engaging standards exponent and an inventive educator since the 1990s, but her partnership with fellow vocalist Ingrid James goes back to their Brisbane days. Their Reunion is accompanied by a vocalist's dream-team in pianist Tom Cawley, bassist Geoff Gascoyne, and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom. James has the smoother, more stately delivery, with Kerr pushing the time-and-phrasing envelope more - but the contrast between them enhances what's fundamentally a down-the-line mainstream-to-bop set. Their harmonies have a faintly dated, Swingle Singers cosiness and the pair's skills and obvious enthusiasm for the venture and each other radiates warmth. They're deft and relaxed on This Could Be the Start of Something Big; the Mulligan-Baker band is elegantly reprised on a contrapuntal version of Soft Shoe; Beady Belle's When My Anger Starts to Cry and Sheila Jordan's and Don Cherry's Art Deco reflect the range of the pair's interests, and Waltzing Matilda their deepest roots. It's a joyous get-together.
John Fordham, The Guardian
A pair of Jazzy Chanteuses get together and do what comes naturally - gossip (Girl Talk), shop for shoes (soft Shoe), share romantic secrets (Dancing on the Ceiling) and worry about therapy (When my anger starts to cryO. Kerr and James blend naturally well, swapping lines, entwining in unison or counterpoint, trading girly ad-libs. The material comes from the tradition of vocalise, the art of appending words to jazz solos, which is a direct route to the subconscious, and perhaps explains whey so many vocalise songs are about going mad (there are two here). Not that the music is never anything less than charming and swinging with just-so phrasing and a pleasing lilt. Clearly, Kerr and James are loving and loveable women. A soft crooning Waltz brings it all back home.
Trudy Kerr's ninth album presents a very special pairing with her old friend from OZ, fellow jazz singer Ingrid James. With a terrific song list that ranges from Jon Hendricks' rambunctious version of 'This Could be the start of Something Big' to a swinging waltz-time take on chick Corea's 'You're Everything' to a Carole King's 'Way Over Yonder/So Far Away' the duo rekindle their erstwhile musical partnership with empathy, exuberance and imagination. The pair negotiate the tricky syncopations of Bob Dorough's 'Baby you Should Know it' and the angularity of 'A Little Crazy' (after Bud Powell's 'Un Poco Loco') with such unbelievable precision that it would be impossible to blow smoke between their respective melodic lines. Other standouts include a delightfully fluid account of Ann Hampton Calloway's 'Finding Beauty' and a captivating 'Art Deco', featuring words by Sheila Jordan music by Don Cherry.
Peter Quinn, Jazzwise Magazine, Sept 2010
It's also an unequivocally enjoyable, impeccably performed set of intelligently selected songs, ranging from the peppy opener, 'This Could Be the Start of Something Big' (inspired by the Jon Hendricks version), through visits to jazz classics (Gerry Mulligan's 'Soft Shoe', wittily transformed into a paean to female footwear with a concluding moral; Bud Powell's 'Un Poco Loco', inspired by TV's righteous serial killer Dexter) and personal favourite songs (by the likes of Bob Dorough and Ann Hampton Calloway), and concluding with a tender, clearly heartfelt version of 'Waltzing Matilda'. There is also a delightful 'Girl Talk', scatterings of vocalese, and a Carole King tribute ('Way Over Yonder/So Far Away').
The women's voices blend perfectly, both in natural-sounding harmony and trading lines/verses, and with accompanying duties flawlessly performed by pianist Tom Cawley, bassist Geoff Gascoyne and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom, this is an unalloyed treat, providing that rare and precious commodity, serious fun.
Chris Parker, Vortex Website, Oct 2010
Two talented vocalists, top-class musicians, inspired song selections, a few new lyrics and a genuinely original set of arrangements come together to make Reunion: a fresh-sounding and charming album from Australian singers Trudy Kerr and Ingrid James.
Kerr and James' voices are distinctive and complementary. James-who appears in the left channel-has the slightly brighter, more crystalline, voice. Kerr, using the right channel, has a softer edge to her voice that gives her sound greater sensuality. Neither is a bluesy shouter, but apart from that they have pretty much all of the vocal bases covered.
The singers have delved into contemporary song, jazz standards, '70s soft-rock and even the Australian tradition to create Reunion. Songs by Steve Allen and Bob Dorough represent the standards. Allen's "This Could be the Start of Something Big" kicks off the album with a superb duet and a swinging arrangement inspired by Jon Hendricks. Dorough's "Baby You Should Know It" has a slinky groove that's heightened by the vocal delivery from both singers.
There is a strong sense of humour pervading the album, too. It's typified by "Soft Shoe:" the arrangement is based on the original, from composer Gerry Mulligan's Quartet, but Kerr and James extend the shoe theme by vocalizing about their favorite footwear-James sings lovingly of her Jimmy Choos, Kerr describes a bewildering array of styles and finishes, Sebastiaan de Krom's brushes create a well-fitting shuffle beat while Geoff Gascoyne underpins the vocals with, of course, a funky walking bass line.
A slightly darker edge to the humour appears on "A Little Crazy"-Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco" with added lyrics from Kerr that were inspired by fictional serial killer Dexter. Tom Cawley's piano solo is terrific-light, delicate and bouncy. There's also a version of "Waltzing Matilda."
The loveliest song on the album is "When My Anger Starts to Cry," by Beate Lech of Norwegian band Beady Belle. Kerr and James stick very closely to Beady Belle's own arrangement of this haunting composition. Their voices capture the sadness and the mystery of the song's imagery perfectly: Gascoyne, de Krom and Cawley create an ideal musical atmosphere.
Reunion is immediately enjoyable: everyone on the album sounds like they were having fun and this readily translates to the performances. The vocal partnership between Kerr and James is delightful-a second reunion will hopefully be on the cards soon.
Bruce Lindsay, AAJ, Oct 2010
Trudy goes from strength to strength. Just seven issues ago, I reviewed her productive team-up with Michael Garrick. Here she is teamed with Ingrid James. They sound marvellous together. I'm always happy to be able to say that I thoroughly enjoyed a whole album - and this is the case. Within these 13 tracks is not a dull moment.
...What impresses is the variety, both of the material and the way they combine their voices on it.
...Two top-quality items that are graced by such Trudy/Ingrid elements as synchronised diction and lyrical interplay.
Les Tomkins, Jazz Rag, Autumn 2010
Jazz vocal duo albums are pretty rare and this is, as always a classy offering from Kerr and her colleagues. It's also unusual to find two duetting singers who sound so similar when so many vocal pairings go for the "chalk and cheese" approach. Kerr and James come from similar musical and cultural backgrounds and have many shared influences. They obviously have great respect for each other's abilities and this is reflected in their work, a partnership of equals where nobody gets in each other's way. Cawley, Gascoyne and de Krom are superb throughout, sympathetic and supportive, always adding but never imposing. There are some neat instrumental solos and cameos, notably from Cawley, but really this album is all about the singing and the songs. "Reunion" is a sophisticated package that is likely to attract healthy audience numbers for the duo's forthcoming UK tour. Having already toured the album around Australia Kerr and James should be in fine voice.
thejazzman.com, Sept 2010