My latest album The House is a collaboration with pianist Andrea Vicari. For the past few years we've been performing duo gigs around London, and Andrea’s beautiful tunes have provided me with the inspiration to write some new lyrics.
I really wanted the challenge of singing and writing something stylistically new, and Andrea’s songs have been the perfect vehicle. My lyrics are about people and places in my life, and I hope my honesty will resonate with audiences and perhaps make them reflect on different aspects of their own lives.
The album is a change of direction – stylistically the tunes are more contemporary sounding. The drummer-less quartet is chamberlike in quality. The melodies are haunting and the arrangements have strong counterpoint lines.
Joining Andrea and me on the album are Geoff Gascoyne on bass and Martin Hathaway on sax, flute and clarinet.
There are six original compositions on the album, four by Andrea and Trudy. The title track The House is a piano and voice duet. The lyrics are about Trudy’s childhood house in Australia, and a photo from the house taken in the 60’s appears on the front cover. The lyric is about how I felt the last time I returned to the house, and how all my childhood memories both good and bad came flooding back to me.
Counting Sheep is a beautiful but simple song written by Andrea. I have taken a more singer-songwriter approach to the lyrics with a repetitive chorus. Pretty Little Dancer has a fun township groove and is about my ballet-dancing daughter. Hold Back the Tears has a beautiful fluid solo by Andrea; the lyrics are about my son having to learn lessons in life and beginning to stand on his own two feet. How can I miss you if you Never Go Away is a ballad with words and music by Andrea about love and life.
Geoff and I have continued our songwriting partnership with a song called Life in a Bubble, a love song about the frailty of love and how it’s good to live in the moment.
The other songs on the album have been arranged by Geoff Gascoyne using instrumentation and reharmonisation to reinvent the songs. Infant Eyes by Wayne shorter is in 5/4 and has an interplay between me and Martin's solo. Waltz for Debby by Bill Evans has the added extra of a vocalese written to the Cannonball Alderley solo. The lyrics continues Gene Lee’s story of a little girl growing up.
Chick Corea’s Crystal Silence is sad and reflective; I have added some improvised lyrics to the end of the piece. There is an uplifting version of Fred Hersch and Norma Winstone’s Song of Life. The Other Man’s Grass by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent has been completely rearranged by Geoff and makes the listener hear the lyrics in a new way. I Have Dreamed by Roger’s and Hammerstein has a beautiful sax solo by Martin and Forever Green is a lesser known Jobim tune which also features Ruby Gascoyne and her friend Grace Freeman singing backing vocals.