Quiet Is The Star is the latest collaboration between pianist Alan Broadbent, who has worked with the likes of Pat Metheny and Diana Krall, and singer and lyricist Georgia Mancio. The two have been collaborating since 2013, and this is their second full-length album after Songbook (2017), which we reviewed previously here.
The new songs were predominantly written since the last album, with the exception of the title track, which dates back to 2016.
To my mind, this is a superior album to Songbook, and is a delight from start to finish. There are a number of things which make it stand out. First of all, the new album is comprised entirely of ballads, with no uptempo tunes. On Songbook, it felt as though Alan Broadbent had presented with a couple of tunes he had written that were perhaps less suited to Georgia's style; on this new album, by contrast, it sounds as though he has composed more tunes with her writing in mind. I may be wrong on this, but either way, the greater emphasis on ballads works extremely well.
Second, and more important, Georgia Mancio continues to develop and grow as a lyricist; there's an elegant simplicity to the lyrics, which is so hard to achieve. Too often, I find that jazz lyricists try to cram in too many words, when less can be more. The lyrics here stand up in their own right; to quote just one example, from the opening tune, I Can See You Passing By; "But a heart can bend, and lies can't mend what has been broken."
Last, but not least, Georgia brings a personal touch to many of these tunes. Let Me Whisper To Your Heart was inspired by a letter left to her by her late mother, whilst All My Life is a heartfelt song for her sister, Marie-Anne. The title track, which brings the album to a close, is exquisite, a reminder that our time here is finite.
Listen to a preview of the album here:
Whilst I have focused on the lyrics, it's worth noting Alan Broadbent's ear for melody made all of this possible, and his playing is a delight, as always. Georgia's singing is delicate and intimate, as befits the songs.
As on their previous album, the artwork, with watercolours courtesy of Simon Manfield, is worthy of mention, making this a rather lovely package.
I think it's Georgia's best album yet - highly recommended.