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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Friday, 12 November 2021 17:58

Lauren Bush - Dream Away

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Impressive second from Canadian jazz vocalist.

Dream Away is the second album by Canadian-born, London-based vocalist, Lauren Bush. She is joined by her quartet, which is comprised on pianist and arranger, Liam Dunachie, bassist Conor Chaplin, Miguel Gorodi on trumpet and David Ingamells on drums.

Bush is an impressive singer, having become a top-five finalist in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition back in 2016. Her tone is cool in style, with immaculate phrasing, but she is capable of swinging, too, as her new album clearly demonstrates.

The album opens with a swinging version of the standard, You Stepped Out Of A Dream, which has been covered by the likes of Nat Cole and Julie London, to name but a few. It features solos from both Gorodi and Dunachie, and gets the album off to a strong start.  

Dream Away was composed by her father, trumpet player Greg Bush, with new lyrics by Jesse Cooper. It’s a delightful tune, and the lyrics work well. 

If This Isn’t Love is an old Broadway song, from Finian’s Rainbow, and is less well-known. It was covered by Sarah Vaughan back in 1958. Bush handles the changes with aplomb, but it’s not one of my favourites from the great American songbook.

The Shadow Of Your Smile is better, to my mind. Dunachie keeps the arrangement simple, rather than giving it a Latin flavour, and gives Bush the space to stamp her own style on the tune. The song also features a lovely solo by Conor Chaplin, who impresses throughout.

Bush’s ability to swing is clearly demonstrated on Keep It To Yourself, a song by Bob Dorough and Geoff Gascoyne. Bush delivers a scat solo here, ably supported by Dunachie and Ingamells, before Gorodi returns with a warm solo of his own.

Blackfriars is a lovely contribution to the ‘London songbook’, composed by saxophonist Fliss Gorst, and with lyrics written by Bush herself. The lyrics work well, and will hopefully encourage her to compose more going forward.

Ellington’s In A Mellow Tone is superb, with Bush opening with just Chaplin’s bass for support, before the rest of the band come in. There’s also a delicious read on Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most, a standard I can’t get enough of, with Bush’s phrasing spotlighting the playful lyrics to great effect.

Listen to In A Mellow Tone here.

The album closes with a surprising jazzy read of Hopelessly Devoted To You. The arrangement works well enough, but to my mind, Bush’s vocal is too ‘cool’ for the lyric, and it falls a little flat.

Overall, this is an impressive follow-up from Lauren Bush. She’s playing with pianist Marco Marconi on 16th November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, treating us to a night of Gershwin and Porter, and with her quartet at Toulouse Lautrec on 27th November. Gig details can be found on her website here.


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