S inger and pianist Liane Carroll occupies a curious position at the intersection of jazz, soul and the classier end of MOR. You'd expect her albums to serve as simple showcases for her exhilarating live shows, but her producer James McMillan has helped to turn each LP into an elegant song suite. Together with a fine band (including guitarist Mark Jaimes and pianist Mark Edwards) she recasts jazz standards as soul tunes: for instance, Skylark, one of three Hoagy Carmichael compositions here, is transformed into a quiet storm ballad, all slinky R&B guitar licks and lush Fender Rhodes chords, a trick she also pulls off with a slow-burning, Latin-tinged version of You Don't Know What Love Is.
Liane Carroll's talents, as singer, pianist and all-round musical force of nature, seemed to defy all efforts to capture them successfully on record. Until, that is, she began working with producer James McMillan. This, their fourth album together, displays a characteristic mixture of deceptive simplicity and emotional depth. Following the loose theme of attitudes to love, Carroll calls on songs by, among others, Stevie Wonder, Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Hoagy Carmichael, whose I Get Along Without You Very Well provides the most touching moment.
An eclectic, versatile singer whose stylistic range spans ragtime, swing, blues, bebop and cutting-edge avant-garde jazz, Norway's KARIN KROG is as well-respected internationally as in her native country. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday and released to coincide with that momentous milestone is a fabulous box set, The Many Faces Of Karin Krog (**** Odin). Understandably, it's considerably wider in scope than Light In The Attic's superb left field-slanted 2015 anthology, Don't Just Sing, and its sixthemed CDs focus in depth on different facets of the singer's career during the years 1967-2017.