Sarah Moule, Stormy Emotions Review
By Sylvannia Garutch
Sarah Moule, a vocalist with a unique repertoire stretching back directly to the Great American Songbook, has enjoyed a long and fruitful musical partnership with the American lyricist, the late Fran Landesman, and British composer and pianist Simon Wallace, to whom Sarah is married. Her first two albums, It’s A Nice Thought (2002) and Something’s Gotta Give (2004), were for prestigious Scottish label Linn Records, and these were followed by A Lazy Kind Of Love (2008) and Songs From The Floating World (2014) for Red Ram Records. Her new record, Stormy Emotions, brings to 45 the total Landesman/Wallace songs Sarah has introduced on her records. Since her recording debut, Sarah has performed with a trio featuring Wallace on piano, bassist Mick Hutton and drummer Paul Robinson. She has been joined on performances and recordings include luminaries from the British jazz scene such as Norma Winstone, Ian Shaw, Alan Barnes, Jim Mullen, Tim Garland, Rod Youngs, Mark Armstrong, Pete Wareham, Nigel Price, and many more of the finest British jazz musicians. Stormy Emotions was recorded in SE London amidst the challenges of 2020; the album features Moule’s and Wallace’s long-time musical collaborators: bassists Mick Hutton and Neville Malcolm, drummers Paul Robinson and Rod Youngs, guitarists Nigel Price and Charlie Cawood, and saxophonist Mark Lockheart.
Opening with “Nothing Is Mine Now,” Stormy Emotions has a classic American Songbook sound and approach. The late Fran Landesman wrote the classic style lyrics, and British composer and pianist Simon Wallace composed the music. The song flows with magic as Moule sings the melody and lyrics with authentic swing inflections and rhythms. Landesman wrote the lyrics for jazz standards such as “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” and “The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men.” “Nothing Is Mine Now” has that extraordinary depth and inner meanings that all the classics have, and this ensemble builds the perfect setting for Moule to express upon. For eighteen years, Landesman met weekly with composer and pianist Wallace to write songs. Together they wrote about 300 songs and have been called ‘one of the finest songwriting partnerships alive.’ Simply magical is the emotion and style of this song and how it captures the timelessness of the Great American Song Book but written in today’s setting.
The title track was written on the day Landesman and Wallace met. Eighteen years later, on the day Landesman passed away, they finished “Nothing Is Mine Now,” the album’s opening track. The title track is just as emotive, and well-thought-out as the pairs work eighteen years later. “Stormy Emotions” fittingly is the ending song of the album, completing the journey of beautiful lyrics, singing, and playing. The long-standing respect between all the core players and Wallace and Moule is something exceptional. Moule is an outstanding vocalist that brings this music to life and will undoubtedly carry it into the next generations of chanteuses.
Stormy Emotions is beautiful and filled with grandeur that embraces the collective momentum of a team of lyricist Landesman and composer Wallace —including Moule’s impeccable vocals (her attention to detail brings the power of Wallace and Landesman into reality for jazz fans). Stormy Emotions is a celebration of the power of a momentous collaboration and shows how the music that buzzes of the Great American Songbook is always profound. Stormy Emotions is a MUST HAVE!
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