‘Standards’ are of course, those familiar jazz tunes you hear on adverts, sung by Sinatra soundalikes, or former boy band members.
There’s no ‘New York New York’ or ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ here though. None on ‘Standards Volume 1’ either… although to be fair, there was no Volume ! Oh, they’re not a trio, either, and the ‘National’ bit is in no way endorsed by any government body.
The – multi-instrumentalist Bill Wells plus vocalists Lorna Gilfedder, Aby Vulliamy and Kate Sugden – are from Scotland at least, and, well, it’s jazz, sort of – though perhaps not as you know it.
In fact, this album is closer to ‘pure’ jazz than Wells – musical force of nature and chief mischief maker – often gets with his rather more ;out there’ work, though also quite far removed from the work he’s now most famous for, foil to Aidan Moffat’s award-wining ramblings. These ‘Standards’ are that Latin take on jazz, as seen through the eyes Astrud Gilberto. The female vocals lend to this theory, although these girls aren’t from Ipanema.
What the trio of vocalists offer is winsome vocals, redolent of Wells’ work with Isobel Campbell. ‘We Grow Accustomed’ a pure, lilting song, like a vocal version of Wells’ instrumental stuff – a choral soundtrack to an imaginary film noir. ‘Never To Be’ has, again, a kind of jazzy inflection to it, but ‘Mary of Argyle’ is a harmonised vocal piece which might have been written by Burns. ‘My Tiny Butterfly’ mixes up vocals for a crazily hypnotic mix, like Stereolab. There’s 13 tunes on here, mainly short, all a wee bit different, and whether your musical taste leans towards jazz, indie or anything in between, well worth a listen.