Pauline Pearce & Laurie Chescoe's Good Time Band, - I Hear Music In The Air

Tuesday 1st February 2000
Pauline Pearce & Laurie Chescoe's Good Time Band, - I Hear Music In The Air

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Fellside

Reviewed by Trevor Kirk

Pauline Pearce is well known and admired on the jazz and blues circuit, both in the UK and in Europe, particularly for her one-woman show based on the life and music of blues legend Bessie Smith which has twice featured at the Edinburgh Festival. Here she and her regular backing band provide nearly an hour of an enthusiastic, energetic and enjoyable fusion of Chicago-style tradi­tional jazz and gospel. The band sets the tone right from the start with a rollick­ing arrangement of the old spiritual "Bye And Bye", and then Pauline's swoop­ing, soulful contralto takes over, leading us through such favourites as "This World Is Not My Home", "Amazing Grace", "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" (a mid-tempo arrangement that is a surprise but also a success), with the band giving strong support throughout. The title track, Rosetta Tharpe's old time hit, gets the up-tempo treatment it deserves with a funky choir getting stuck in and everyone has a great time. This is light years away from those excruciating Trad Jazz Praise albums that escaped (I hesitate to say released), a few years back, so if your jazz preferences are for Dixieland, New Orleans, Chicago or even Kenny Ball, then this will appeal. And Pauline Pearce is a singer of considerable talent who is equally at home with gospel or blues. Worth seeking out.

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