Quercus – Nightfall (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:05:35minutes | 586 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Mora.jp | Front Cover | © ECM
Quercus’s self-titled ECM debut won the album-of-the-year award of the German Record Critics in 2013, was widely praised by the international press, and especially celebrated in Britain where June Tabor has long reigned as “the dark voiced queen of English folk music” (to quote The Times). Folk and jazz and chamber music become one in Quercus’s world, where recontextualizing of material is part of the process, prompting listeners to pay heightened attention even to familiar songs. Nightfall opens with the most famous of farewells in “Auld Lang Syne”, and gently breathes new life into it, leading us into a programme that includes Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice”, the jazz standard “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and the West Side Story ballad “Somewhere”, as well as original compositions by Huw Warren and Iain Ballamy and songs from British folk tradition, in stark and moving new arrangements.
The austere and shadowy eloquence of the incomparable folk singer June Tabor has sometimes been escorted by Loose Tubes saxophonist Iain Ballamy alongside Tabor’s regular jazz-piano partner Huw Warren, and as the trio Quercus they were deservedly cheered for their eponymously named 2013 debut on ECM. This fine successor similarly mixes traditional English folk songs (The Manchester Angel, Once I Loved You Dear (The Irish Girl), The Cuckoo) with reappraisals of some timeless mainstream favourites. Warren sketches a jazz-ballad accompaniment around Tabor’s rich low tones and wistful upturns on Auld Lang Syne, and both the singer’s long sounds and Ballamy’s haunting tenor sax echo the cries of seabirds on the shipwreck song On Berrow Sands. The Cuckoo mixes a playful bounce with darker implications of infidelity, and a slowly rocking Don’t Think Twice sounds as immediate as if Tabor had just thought of it – with a gentle venom – “You just kind of wasted my precious time.” Another Quercus set with not a sound out of place, but a wealth of quiet surprises just the same.
01 – Auld Lang Syne
02 – Once I Loved You Dear (The Irish Girl)
03 – On Berrow Sands
04 – Christchurch
05 – You Don’t Know What Love Is
06 – The Manchester Angel
07 – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright
08 – Emmeline
09 – The Shepherd And His Dog
10 – The Cuckoo
11 – Somewhere
Produced by Iain Ballamy and Huw Warren.
Recorded by Mike Mower in December 2015 at Cooper Hall, Frome;
Mixed by Gerry O’Riordan at The Soundhouse Studios, London.
June Tabor – vocals
Huw Warren – piano
Iain Ballamy – saxophones