Singer, producer, songwriter and arranger Lily Dior releases her third album and displays her jazz and soul roots.
Let’s Talk About It was recorded in Sydney back in 2012 but still sounds fresh in 2016. It’s available on iTunes and on http://www.lilydior.com and is well worth a listen, with a nod in the direction of some great soul and jazz singers that have clearly influenced Dior. There are some beautiful songs and the talented Dior obviously believes in collaboration, with a number of different co-writers and arrangers.
Dior has a global reputation beyond her native Australia (we claim her as British because of her UK musician parents), including studying with Mark Murphy in New York. She also performed with the Manhattan Jazz Quintet with legendary arranger and pianist Dave Matthews alongside Bill Evans, Charnett Moffatt, Victor Lewis, and Lew Soloff, at Sydney Casino’s Lyric Theatre.
There’s a touch of soul to the arrangements on this album and Dior’s voice has the depth, control and clarity of Gregory Porter (now, that would be an interesting duet). She also is unafraid to put a touch of political conscience in the lyrics, especially in Are You Willing? and Let’s Talk About It. Both tracks combine insightful lyrics with great arrangements that bridge whatever barried might exist between jazz and soul.
I managed to catch a phone call with Dior, and she wasn’t surprised when I told her my favourite track on the album is Shadow Man. “It was the last song to actually be recorded for the album and I’m glad it made the cut,” she said. “The string arrangement brings it to life and adds a different feel compared to the horns I use a lot.”
Another outstanding track is the one cover – Who Needs You (Baby)? “I found the song on Aretha, recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1961,” said Dior. “It’s one of seven songs Billie Holiday co-wrote with guitarist Jeanne Burns, but she never recorded. I’d love to get all of them recorded in time – that’s a project I’d really like to do.”
Dior’s third album is new to the UK and it’ll be interesting to see how it fares, but it can stand proud alongside some of our home-grown talent. There’s an attention to detail in the arrangements and a beauty in the vocals that make this an album I’ll certainly be coming back to again.
Review: Hilary Robertson