Richardson's wistful singing is a heartfelt tribute to Chet Baker
Sue Richardson: Too Cool (Splash Point Music)
Sue Richardson (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals), Neal Richardson (piano, Rhodes), George Trebar (double bass), Rod Youngs (drums), plus Karen Sharp (baritone sax) and Andy Drudy (guitar) on some tracks.
This is a heartfelt tribute to Chet Baker, who died 25 years ago. The leader's soft tone on trumpet and flugelhorn is inspired by Baker's sound. When she sings, she emulates his wistful feeling, though in fact her voice is better than his ever was.
My Funny Valentine is the only standard. Otherwise the tunes are divided between Baker's own compositions and Richardson's originals. Karen Sharp blends in well and contributes some strong solos, notably on the tender Chetty's Lullaby, a highlight for the whole group.
Roger Beaujolais Quartet: Mind the Gap (Stay Tuned)
Beaujolais (vibraphone), Robin Aspland (piano), Simon Thorpe (double bass), Winston Clifford (drums), plus Oli Savill (percussion) on three tracks.
An Englishman despite the French name, Roger Beau-jolais teaches vibraphone at Trinity College of Music, London. He has been highly praised by Gary Burton, and it is easy to see why.
The album is melodic and swinging all the way, from the bop-oriented Full House to the lovely Italian ballad Estate (Summer). An ethereal treatment of the Thad Jones classic A Child is Born recalls the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Joe Beam – a pun on 'Jobim' – is sunnily Brazilian in atmosphere.
The elegant Robin Aspland and the buoyant rhythm section make this a well-rounded group with an intuitive mutual understanding.
Susannah de Wrixon sings at lunchtime in the John Field Room next Friday, backed by Cian Boylan and Hugh Buckley. On Saturday night they appear in Cloughjordan House, Co Tipperary.
Also on Saturday, Honor Heffernan appears in Bewley's with Jim Doherty and Louis Stewart, while Carmel McCreagh sings in the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray.