After several bumps along the way, my winter jazz EP ‘Snow Falls’ is available at last via the Store page above.
The EP has the first recording of an original song of mine ‘Snow Falls’ and I’m delighted with how it turned out. I have my friend and collaborator Tim Richards, pianist on this and the earlier release My New Jive, to thank for that. With his great ear and arranging skills, he was able to create a lovely arrangement just from hearing me sing it! Thanks also to drummer Jeff Lardner, who added the bossa feel. This is an example of why I love making jazz so much. The music can go in so many directions when you bring great musicians together who bring their own experiences and ideas to the mix.
I didn’t want to make this a ‘Christmas’ EP. Instead I chose music that brought focus on the sometimes conflicting mood and atmosphere around these winter months, when we feel at our most hopeful and also most melancholy. The tracks I chose hopefully reflect that.
I included my favourite carol ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ (retitled ‘Bleak Midwinter), but changed it by omitting part of the original lyrics and replacing it with some of my own. My version is now more about the bleakness you can feel when thinking about people no longer with us, rather than on the religious focus of the original. Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Winter Moon’ was another song that had a bitter sweetness tinge to it for me. Such a beautiful song that strangely has been rarely recorded. Art Pepper inspired this version and thanks to both Tim Richards and Dominic Howles we had a lovely arrangement to work with. The last track is Vince Guaraldi’s ‘Christmas Time Is Here’, much loved by Charlie Brown fans. The song is usually done more as a sweet ethereal ballad but, for me, the lyrics by Lee Mendelson are really quite upbeat and all about the anticipation and excitement you feel about Christmas: the holidays, the presents, the fun, the hanging with friends and loved ones. I hope my take on it won’t upset the fans of the original version. All I can say is that jazz is about interpreting things in the way you feel them, rather than just copying the way things were done previously.
I had some vocal challenges when recording this as I had a persistent cough which was affecting my voice. That was frustrating and upsetting at the time. One of those ‘the show must go on’ moments! However, I remind myself that at different times and for different reasons, voices do change and you get other qualities coming through. On this recording, I think the remnants of the cold brought a more delicate quality to my voice which, in the end, adds to the atmosphere of the tunes.
Now it’s done and out there and it’s over to you to decide whether you like what we’ve done.
PS: Please also check out the beautiful artwork for the EP below. My amazing 17yr old niece, Morven Douglas, designed it for me. You get a free download of this when you purchase the EP!