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Matthew Ruddick

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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Tuesday, 20 October 2015 01:18

David Vaughan - We're On A Holiday

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David Vaughan blurs the lines between jazz, classical and chanson on his unique and persuasive debut

The debut album We’re On A Holiday by singer songwriter, pianist, guitarist and trumpeter David Vaughan was released in February 2015 with a launch gig at a packed The Pheasantry in Chelsea.  A refreshing, novel and entertaining performance it is!  Not obviously being a jazz album it could quite easily be placed in the ‘world’ music category given the strong European influences, notably chanson.  A number of years’ work was spent establishing the repertoire and sound and the blurred lines between jazz and classical have so far shown to appeal to both audiences in live performance.

David’s musical background reaches back to 1989 when he left university to pursue a career in music.  Italy beckoned in the early 90’s where he worked variously as a jingles composer and jazz trumpeter.  On returning to the UK in 1992 he entered the world of jazz-rock/fusion on keyboards with Matt Borgmann’s Meander appearing in London at The Vortex and in Europe.  After a spell in the mid to late 90’s with the Hot Orange Band, performing at venues such as London’s The Jazz Café and with his own trio, he decided in 1999 to take a sabbatical and returned to live in Italy.  In 2004 he arrived back in the UK and from 2005 led a band at the more melodic end of the rock scale concentrating on original compositions. It may have been at this time but is more likely to have been during his sojourns in Europe, that the seeds of this entirely new musical endeavour for him were sown.  In this ‘The Ensemble’ of Daniel Broncano on clarinets, Romano Viazzani on accordion, Tom Hewins on double bass and tuba and Jason Reeve on drums help him to create a distinctive sound, imbued with clarity and crisp intonation. 

The full range of emotions are experienced from the opener Please Mr Mitchell, a good-natured ribbing of the Tory MP ‘Plebgate’ saga, through to the cheery optimism of the title track closer We’re On A Holiday.  In between there is a mix of spirituality, enduring love and the purely poetic.  Although a strong Latin vein runs through the album there is also an essentially English feel to many of the songs due in no small part to David’s voice, at times uncannily reminiscent of Noel Harrison.  The talented group of musicians ‘The Ensemble’ underpins all with outstanding contributions from Daniel Broncano on both clarinet and bass clarinet and Romano Viazzani on accordion and together with the leader’s flair on piano, guitar and trumpet (notably on Neon In The City) a special sound is created.  The two short dreamy instrumental tracks Interlude and Epilogue leave one wishing for more of the same; they would make superb soundtracks for any Mike Leigh film.

David Vaughan took fellow ‘Ensemble’ musicians Daniel Broncano and Romano Viazzani to the intimate, Parisian-style basement jazz club Oliver’s for his trio gig on 2 October 2015 and the legendary south London venue turned out to be the perfect showcase for ‘We’re On A Holiday’.  The songs are strong on lyrics and David’s friendly and humorous nature established a cheerful audience rapport in filling out the background to them.  The words are articulated in a beautiful and captivating soft baritone voice capable of strong emotion as in Rise To Your Feet and My Religion and the extreme tenderness of The Day You Came To Me and Your Dream Is My Dream.  Together with the brilliant playing from Daniel Broncano and Romano Viazzani and one or two songs from the yet to be named next album, this was an evening rich in entertainment and musical excellence.  Too often the desire to pigeonhole styles of music and performance has a debilitating effect on both artist and audience and acts as a barrier to enjoyment.  With this album and in live performance David Vaughan disavows categories and asks the listener to embrace the wealth of music that exists.  He is very persuasive and deserves to succeed.

 

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