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Finding Home

Artist: Kate Williams

Date of Release: 01/06/2019

Catalogue no: kwjazz002

Label: KwJazz

Price: £13

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

One For The Bees (Williams/Mancio)

5.37

2

listen

Caminando, Caminando (Victor Jara)

3.29

3

listen

No More Blues (A.C. Jobim, lyrics Jon Hendricks)

4.57

4

listen

Don't Go To Strangers ( A. Kent/D. Mann/R. Evans)

2.27

5

listen

The Last Boy On Earth (Williams/Mancio)

5.33

6

listen

Halfway (Williams/Mancio)

4.39

7

listen

We Walk (Slow Dawn) (Williams/Mancio)

5.53

8

listen

The Key (Williams)

2.34

9

listen

Finding Home (Williams/Mancio)

3.14

10

listen

Heartwood (Williams)

4.28

11

listen

Tell The River (Broadbent/Mancio)

5.16

12

listen

Play (Williams/Mancio)

4.42

 

 

 

 

Kate Williams - piano
Georgia Mancio - voice
John Williams - guitar (tracks 2 and 7)
Oli Hayhurst - bass
David Ingamells - drums
John Garner - violin
Marie Schreer - violin
Francis Gallagher - viola
Sergio Serra - cello

 

Reviews

 

01/06/2019 Peter Vacher, Jazzwise

Williams has worked and recorded with a string quartet before and builds valuably on that experience on this engaging new release. Her occasional collaborations with the always-enterprising singer Georgia Mancio are cemented here in an impressive coming-together of mutual interests. Mancio has contributed lyrics to a series of songs with music by Williams, three of which reflect her experiences while volunteering with refugee groups in Northern France and the UK over the past three years. There is also the undoubted bonus of the presence of Williams' father, the eminent classical guitarist John Williams on two of these tracks, the first the utterly beguiling 'Caminando, Caminando' by Chilean composer Victor Jara. Mancio's vocals throughout are poised and pitch-perfect, her sound small but perfectly formed. It's good to hear her let rip on 'No More Blues' with suitably boppish piano from Williams, Hayhurst and Ingamells panting in pursuit. Mancio then handles 'Don't Go To Strangers' at ballad tempo, the lyrics thoughtful and heartfelt over the most spare of cello accompaniments. The album's meat is the trilogy of songs inspired by stories and events from her volunteering experiences as seen through the eyes of children. The melancholic strings act as a suitably searing counterpoint on 'The Last Boy On Earth'. There's real intensity on her vocal on 'Halfway' as the music builds over Ingamells' clattery drums and the string writing surges. 'We Walk', with Williams senior, is more fragmentary yet equally moving. So, an album far removed from the conventional perhaps, with its central redemptive theme, the string writing always complimentary, the execution maintaining jazz interest, especially via Williams' nimble, harmonically adroit piano, this given its head on her trio piece 'Heartwood'. Plenty to enjoy and much to think about. Lovely Music. ****

 

29/05/2019 Adrian Pallant, London Jazz News

“Secret, silent moments. Sweet, familiar voices. Colour into colour. Wonder into wonder. Beautiful traces play inside my mind.”
Those words from the coda of Finding Home’s final track, lovingly referencing those who have gone before us, also speak to me of the imaginative approach to this meticulous and poignant collaboration between Kate Williams’ Four Plus Three (the strings of The Guastalla Quartet alongside her piano trio with Oli Hayhurst and drummer Dave Ingamells) and vocalist Georgia Mancio. Williams’ concept of merging two different musical entities – with potential to feature guests – was realised in 2016, followed by the release of Four Plus Three’s eponymous debut album. Yet the idea of these two friends working together was kindled further back when Georgia asked to write lyrics to Kate’s composition Silhouette, which would become the title track to the singer’s 2010 release.
Songwriters’ opportunities are many, but the ability to connect words – of candidness and love, ugliness and beauty, despair and hope – with music which has been crafted with both empathy and interest requires dedication. As this album’s spirit unfolds, it’s clear that Kate Williams, Georgia Mancio and their fellow musicians grasp that essence; and their conveyance of so many moods in these twelve tracks can easily catch one emotionally off guard, with a depth transcending mere ‘song’.
The Williams/Mancio writing partnership (composer/arranger and lyricist) is at the heart of half of the album’s works, their opening One for the Bees colourfully and rhythmically portraying a view of our responsibility to the natural world. It’s a harmonious sound, never with any sense of ‘string quartet bolted-on to jazz trio’ – and Mancio’s possession of every phrase is as impressive as ever. The choice of reinterpretations is exquisite, too. Jobim’s No More Blues swings lusciously, showcasing typically dextrous vocal lines as well as the many textures available to the ‘four’ and ‘three’; and in the Arthur Kent miniature, Don’t Go To Strangers, The Guastallas alone support Mancio with delicate poise.
A trilogy of songs strike at harsh reality, born out of Georgia’s continued commitment to aiding refugees in Northern France, their lyrics inspired by her on-the-ground experiences there which include first-hand accounts from children. The weary plight conveyed in The Last Boy on Earth (“I have no name, I have no worth. I have no kin, I had no birth. No-one comes near, nowhere is home.”) is paired with Kate’s jarring, beleaguered arrangements; and animated Halfway soars (“Watch us shine, now we’re free!”) with rising string phrases and piano trio buoyancy. As heartrending as this sequence began, We Walk (Slow Down) wanders between desolation and human resolve, Williams’ churning composition illustrating Mancio’s “We bleed, we burn. We struggle just to find our place on Earth”. The Key and Finding Home seem to continue the theme through Marie Schreer’s plaintive solo violin and Mancio’s affecting, softly-accompanied monologue (“I know the crows are circling but they do not pull me down.”).
It’s a pleasure to find celebrated classical guitarist John Williams (Kate’s father) guesting on the album, most prominently in an evocative guitar, strings and percussion arrangement of Victor Jara’s Caminando, Caminando (Walking, walking) with Spanish lyric. Elsewhere, Mancio’s successful collaboration with the great Alan Broadbent is reflected in their moving, elegant Tell The River, Williams’ pianistic expression as graceful here as in her own, sunshiny Heartwood. And that closing original number, Play, might be hallmarked ‘a classic’ with such a warm, uplifting demeanour, all enriched by this most pellucid of voices.
Imagining future possibilities for ‘Kate Williams’ Four Plus Three meets…’ is tantalising, in a recording which again identifies Georgia Mancio as one of UK jazz’s most accomplished vocalists. Thanks to its emotional profundity and sheer joy of entertainment, Finding Home remains in my playlist after many weeks.



 

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