Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Martini Blue" - A happy stylish new album from ETYPEJAZZ

Martini Blue
Released December 2014
Recording reviewed by Clinton White

Adelaide outfit ETYPEJAZZ has been around for 20 years now.  Their lineup has changed a bit, but founding members Beth Lyon (sax) and Mike Haynes (bass) are still there.  They’re definitely not stuck in their ways though, as their new disc, Martini Blue, shows.  Like a couple of their previous releases, this latest offering marks a slightly new direction in style but stays true to their jazz roots and their unique sound.

ETYPEJAZZ have taken a bunch of 60’s charts, thrown in a couple of originals and given us arrangements all with a breath of fresh air but just a hint of how we might remember the originals. 

Vocalist, Katrina Ryan, takes us on quite an adventure reminiscent of what a fun road trip in their namesake, a stylish E-type Jag, might be like.  Keyboardist, Melanie Jamieson, and drummer, Barnabas Smith, along with Haynes give a very solid and empathetic backing and Lyon is, as ever, imaginative in her improvs and vocal accomp.

There’s a specially good drum solo in “Alamoré”, an original that fits so well to the style of the other songs, you’ll swear you’ve heard it somewhere before.  And the next in the list, “(They Long to be) Close to You” is almost schizophrenic as it runs from dreamy ballad through sultry blues, frenetic swing and back to dreamland.  Bacharach would be impressed.  The other original, “Coffee”, a gentle swing, also sits in the 60’s style nicely, but gives all band members a chance at solos, with Jamieson especially shining on multi-tracked piano and organ.

The recording session was unique, too.  They took a showroom, turned it into a lounge, put on some drinks and invited an audience of family and friends.  This approach shows on the album, too.  There’s the spontaneity of a live performance and there’s a laid-back, free-and-easy intimacy that only this setting can create.  Any listener will surely be heading for their fav armchair and reaching for that “glass of something special”.

Martini Blue opens on a bright note with “Yeh Yeh”, a song Georgie Fame took to the top of the UK charts.  Other familiar songs include “Moon River”, “This Can’t be Love”, and a medley of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”.  The list of 11 songs and around 45 minutes of music finishes with “Mas Que Nada” and is quite reminiscent of that famous Sérgio Mendes and Brazil ’66 style.

Martini Blue is a happy and very stylish album that shows just why ETYPEJAZZ continue to be so popular with audiences all over.