Corazón ‘The music of Eleanor McEvoy’ (Moscojazz) 3/5

corazónIrish singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy serves as the inspiration for this album of instrumental reworkings of her repertoire and it is both an enjoyable and melodic excursion. One does not have to be familiar with the originals to appreciate this album, but the song melodies are strong enough to carry the listener. McEvoy has established an international reputation for her songwriting that veers towards the country-folk idiom and one of the compositions here was co-written with Rodney Crowell who is better known for his collaborative work with Emmylou Harris. Corazón are an Irish jazz quartet that seem to be influenced by the work of Dave Brubeck and it is the alto saxophone/clarinet playing of Ciaran Wilde and piano of Myles Drennan that really drives this formation with fine interplay between the duo throughout. The duo flow through the opener ‘Please heart, you’re killing me’. An uptempo bossa groove accompanies ‘Wrong so wrong’ with some plaintive Desmondesque musings from Wilde and blues licks from Drennan. It is the latter who takes a delicate solo on ‘you’ll hear better songs (than this)’ while he reserves a piano treatment worthy of Bill Evans (surely another major influence) on the lovely ‘Harbour’. Clarinet comes into play on the ballad ‘Don’t blame the tune’ while the gently paced ‘The thought of you’ is catchy tune with a lot in full flow and quoting the Beatles in the middle of a solo. Perhaps surprisingly for a wider audience, there is no explanation in the sleeve notes as to why the band chose to cover these songs. A tastefully executed series of covers, but one wonders what the group might sound like with a few original compositions.

Tim Stenhouse