CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE 14th JANUARY 2011
FOUR STARS * * * *
Robinson and Garrick share more than an affinity with the music of Bill Evans; the young singer and the veteran pianist/composer have a feel for emotional (and musical) eqivocation, as well as the intuitive sense of what each is doing. Five of the 12 tunes here are Evans', with Garrick contibuting the rest to a programme distinguished, among other things, by his gem-like accompaniments to the vocals. Robinson uses her light voice well; she lets the lyric do the work and, in a mostly trio setting with Matt Ridley (bass), handles some really challenging material with aplomb. On an album of understated beauty, movingly seasoned with astringency, outstanding are Very Early (with fine alto solo from Tony Woods), Little Boy, Shining Light (with Gabriel Garrick's gorgeous flugelhorn), Little Girl, Time Remembered, Turn Out the Stars and a superb September Reflection.
(Ray Comiskey, Originally Irish Times)
MOJO MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2010
FOUR STARS * * * *
Garrick has never made it easy. His seven original compositions on his tribute to the late Bill Evans throw up many complexities, yet retain a simplicity of style-much in the manner of Evans' pianio work. Nette Robinson, his partner in this project, not so much sings but breathes the lyrics while accurately negotiating the occasionally difficult melody lines. Garrick of course, is a gifted accompanist, ever supportive yet able to grab ears solo-wise. The result is a rewarding release that spotlights several of Evans' own compositions. Bassist Matt Ridley appears on most tracks while there are notable assists from saxophonist Tony Woods and Garrick's own son Gabriel, whose flugelhorn solo on the Keats inspired "Shining Light " is memorable.
(Fred Dellar, MOJO Magazine , December 2010)
JAZZ JOURNAL SEPTEMBER 2010
It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the death of Bill Evans. During his lifetime, Evans influenced many and gathered a wide and admiring audience among muscians and fans. As this release makes clear, this admiration is in no way diminished by the passing decades and here the vitality and beauty of his work is lovingly recaptured.
On this effective tribute from Robinson and Garrick some of the compositions are by Evans while others are by Garrick and all display considerable charm and depth. Garrick's lyrics are worthy of their inspirational source, being intelligent, sophisticated and moving (and are, incidentally, printed in the liner.) Relatively new on the London jazz scene, Robinson is not in the least awed by the concept, which apparently originated with her. She responds very well to Garrick's writing and is a sure and able singer, her voice clear and unforced. She allows the lyrics to breathe and throughout displays her love and respect for the music.
It hardly needs adding that Garrick's playing is exemplary and his mastery does ample justice to the music and memory of that other master whose work lives on and who might well now reach another, younger and perhaps different audience from Evans' original admirers. Ridley subtly and ably supports singer and pianist, while the brief moments from Gabriel Garrick and Woods are similarly effective. This CD should appeal to many, be they fans of Evans or Garrick or newly aware of Robinson's talent.
(Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal September 2010)
JAZZWISE SEPTEMBER 2010
This September, it will be 30 years since Bill Evans left town. Remembered Time is a tribute with a difference, in that seven of the 12 tracks are penned, words included, by Michael Garrick, albeit inspired by a deep affection for Evans' music. Of Evans' own tunes, the evergreen "Turn Out the Stars" is given a gorgeous reading with Nette Robinson, a singer of real promise, suggesting something of Jeri Southern in her voice, while on "Time Remembered", Garrick's playing is exceptional even by his standards. "September Reflections" suggests Evans' virtues as a composer and pianist quite beautifully, and saxophonist Tony Woods lifts Evans' "Very Early" with some lightly dancing, breathy alto. Garrick junior does the old man proud with some burnished flugelhorn on "Shining Light", but it's the sense of conversational intimacy between Garrick and Robinson that really makes this such a richly compelling late-night record.
(Duncan Heining, Jazzwise Septmber 2010)
Robinson is a new singer to me. Her first CD has received enthusiastic reviews and this should do the same. Garrick has previously shown what a fine accompanist he is on his CD with Trudy Kerr and here he adds to the reputatuion. The theme is the late Bill Evans, with whom Garrick briefly studied. It's a most affectionate tribute with
extra colour added from Robinson's husband Tony Woods and Garrick's son Gabriel on saxophone and flugelhorn.
JAZZ JOURNAL JULY 2010
British Vocalist Robinson and her supporters update nine classics of big band swing, including Cute, Take the A Train, April In Paris and Caravan. When she sings she swings, with velvety voice and impeccable jazz timing; when she participates in ensembles it is with athletic and precise scatting, sometimes leading, sometimes backing. Her programme may seem retro, but the idiom is essentially modern as her accomplished accompanists, who have plenty of space, exploit her ingenious arrangements. (So ingenious, actually, the relevance of the wa-wa trombone opening Sophisticated Lady wholly eludes me. My fault, I’m sure.) An uncommonly enjoyable debut recording.
(John Postgate, Jazz Journal July 2010)
JAZZWISE JUNE 2010
Formed in 2005, this debut album for Nette Robinson's Little Big Band, subtly combining the composed and the improvised, is long overdue.
paying fulsome homage to the music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington, the fact that this is an entirely chord-less quintet-no piano, no guitar-results in a sound that's both refreshingly transparent and energising. Featuring Back to Basie Orchestra's Adrian Fry on trombone, Robinson's husband Tony Woods on various reeds, plus the excellent rhythm section of Will Hyland and Chris Nickolls, the material on The Little Big Band Plays ranges from an extravagantly proportioned "Sophisticated Lady" (check out the four-minute intro), the riffing asides of "Sent For You Yesterday" and a serpentine "Caravan". The slightly oblique commentaries by Fry and Woods at times inject procedings with a little twist of Monk, notably album opener "Take the A Train". Possessing the smoothest of timbres and the subtlest of vibratos on end notes, Robinson's voice is one that you could never tire of listening to. Well worth the wait.
(Peter Quinn, Jazzwise, June 2010)
JAZZ UK JUNE/JULY 2010
Forget all that old macho stuff about females singers. The arrangements written for their bands by singers Nette Robinson, Sarah Ellen Hughes and Georgia Mancio...have been knocking the cognoscenti's socks off.
...hard swinging...with trombonist Adrian Fry and saxophonist Tony Woods augmenting Nette's relaxed vocal lines on some nice old tunes.
YORKSHIRE POST-JAZZ PREVIEW 21-05-10
Singer-leader Nette, who counts the formidable Barb Jungr among her admirers, brings her Little Big Band to Huddersfield Jazz at the Lawrence Batley Theatre tomorrow night. The group is, in fact, a quintet with saxophonist Tony Woods, trombonist Adrian Fry, bassist Adrian Kendon and drummer Chris Nicholls completing the line-up.
The band tackles Ellington and Basie classics with a fire and imagination which belies its size.
JAZZ BREAKFAST Disc of the Day 26-04-10
Nette Robinson’s Little Big Band: The Little Big Band Plays (33 Records 33JAZZ206)
A young woman singer, a list of tracks that includes April In Paris, In A Mellow Tone, All Of Me, Makin’ Whoopee… no disrespect to the many excellent singers doing standards out there, but still my heart sinks.
And then I press play, and the heart rises! The hint has been there in the title. This disc gathers tunes made famous by the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands, and presents them in stripped down form in a band of equals. Nette Robinson provides the voice and does the arrangements, her husband Tony Woods plays saxophone and flute, one-time Back To Basie player and transcriber Adrian Fry is on trombone, Will Hyland supplies the double bass and Chris Nickolls the drums.
In case we haven’t noticed, the press release usefully points out that despite the music being created by two band-leading pianists, there is no piano in the band. That absence of a chordal instrument gives the sound considerable freshness. Robinson not only sings in a cool, vibrato-free, attractively deadpan fashion, and also blends her voice with saxophone and trombone in three-part section, the rhythm team are tight and cooking, and Fry and Woods provide some fine solos, often providing some backing support lines to each other. Robinson bides her time to give the rest of the band a lot of space to improvise, and delivers just the right sophisticated tone for each song.
Woods especially makes sure things are never going to get flabby: his solos are wonderfully muscular, bringing a thoroughly contemporary attitude to this music when making it sound archival is always a risk. And try the written sax and scat section on Cute. That title says it all, too.
This disc is being launched on Wednesday at the Orange Tree Cellar Bar in Richmond. Should be a big little gig.
(PETER BACON, The Jazz Breakfast)
HUDDERSFIELD EXAMINER 21-05-10
NETTE Robinson is widely regarded as an exciting jazz talent.
Some critics have described her as up and coming talent, but others say she is already one to watch.
Hardly surprising that Nette’s career provokes such interest since she is not just applauded for her “flamboyant, assured and sultry” vocals but is acknowledged too for her work as a composer and arranger.
That all round talent that is Nette Robinson arrives in Huddersfield tomorrow to play a gig for Huddersfield Jazz at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.
She will lead Nette Robinson’s Little Big-Band with Tony Woods on saxophone and reeds, Adrian Fry on trombone, Adrian Kendon on bass and Chris Nickolls on drums.
Nette is a musician steeped in jazz roots and quotes as her major influence such names as Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Lester Young, Count Basie and Carmen Mcrae.
In 2003 she studied for a Jazz Diploma in Chichester on saxophone, voice and piano and was awarded the college prize for outstanding achievement.
She’s moved on to writing for big bands and has worked with a number of them including the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Nette also writes for small ensembles and one of her main musical projects is her own, Little Big-Band.
This ensemble pays tribute to big-band legends by presenting reinterpretations of big-band classics, slimmed-down for a five piece.
(Huddersfield Examiner, Val Javin)