London jazzer Fiona Ross knows a bit about getting it right - as head of the British Academy of New Music for nine years she helped prepare the likes of Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Jess Glynne for glory. Now she's ready to put all her expertise on the line to see where her own musical journey takes her.
Having released her debut last year, A Twist of Blue, this sophomore set comes as a double package - Side 1 is stripped back, bare bones, intimate and spacious, while Side 2 is a full band set that has the chutzpah to end in a studio jam.
In lesser hands this could look, sound and feel like indecision, but such doubts disappear on playing the record - it's a confident assertion of many facets of the same artist, the searing honesty of songs such as The Mating Game and I Don't Want To Love You countered by more fragile insights such as I'm Lost and You Made Me Question Me.
The first disc with its sparser musical settings allows more space for Ross' voice to shine and as she takes the twists and turns through songs like Save Me and Over You it's clear she's taking full advantage and has got the chops to make the most of it. 27 Reasons is the track that links the two sets with the full band setting extending the emotional foundation of the solo version, the band's gusty performance driving Ross' powerful vocal. It's the ideal set up for the second set has her band - Gibbi Bettini (gtr), Kris Buzow (sax), Marley Drummond (drums) and Nate Williams (bass), who also mixed the album, lay down the lore and keep Ms Ross on her vocal toes.
It's a bold album that amply rewards repeated listens.
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