Release Date: Jul 22, 2014
Record label: Karaoke Kalk
Genre(s): Jazz, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Ambient Pop
Just as the Electric Light Orchestra wasn't an orchestra, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion isn't really a blues band, and the Foo Fighters don't actually fight foo, the National Jazz Trio of Scotland is neither a jazz combo nor a three-piece, but their third proper full-length, Standards, Vol. III, is certainly not a typical pop album, either. Led by Bill Wells on keyboards and electronics, the National Jazz Trio of Scotland delivers a set of spare but often lovely melodies performed in minimal fashion by Wells, using a palette of sounds that don't often resemble what one usually expects from a keyboard, with vocalists Lorna Gilfedder, Kate Sudget, and Aby Vulliamy singing softly but with genuine strength and power, both individually and in harmony.
"Bill loves chaos," my friend Robbie says, laughing as we both watch Wells – himself heaving with laughter – tickled mightily by some inter-song snafu. He's playing to a packed house at the Glad Café on the South side of Glasgow; actually, unusually, playing as a trio - Wells on piano, a scuffed, knackered looking upright that Wells makes sound concert-grand; Kate Sugden singing and playing marimba; Aby Vulliamy playing viola and singing. No one I know laughs like Wells: it's always a judder from the diaphragm up, never a coy giggle, always a full body shake.