Jacqui Dankworth ‘Live to love’ (Specific) 3/5

Coming from such an illustrious jazz family as the Dankworths could have proven an albatross around the neck of singer Jacqui Dankworth, but quietly she has carved out her own niche and on the latest recording has extended her repertoire into the soul-jazz and even fusion terrain and this suits her voice well. Reworking her father’s television soundtrack piece ‘Tomorrow’s world’ into a reggae-inflected number was a brave decision and one that has paid off with some Jaco-style bass grooves from Geoff Gascoyne. Indeed the Weather Report connection is furthered on a lovely cover of the jazz-fusion group’s famous ‘Palladium’ and a suitably percussive accompaniment is enhanced by the soprano saxophone of Ben Castle. Where Jacqui Dankworth is in her element is on the interpretations of singer-songwriter soul classics such as a delicious reworking of Donny Hathaway’s ‘Someday we’ll all be free’. This is arguably the finest moment on the album and taken at a slightly quicker tempo than the original, this is the ideal terrain for her voice to excel. Quite possibly an entire album in this vein would be a logical next step and in the process enable Dankworth to develop her own songwriting skills. Of the originals on the album, ‘Malala’ impresses the most with its Afro-Latin undercurrent and this is another avenue for the singer to explore. Fine accompaniment throughout on piano and organ from band member and husband Charlie Wood. Jacqui Dankworth and group will be undertaking an extensive UK tour from October and this will include dates in November and December. Tim Stenhouse

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