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Kirsten Winter

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Reviews of Kirsten Winter

 

01/09/2005 'Musician'

A very classy production showcasing the excellent vocals of Kirsten plus the cool and timeless guitar of Chris Peirce. Eleven songs from a world class variety of sources - James Taylor, John Martyn, Sting - blend together to make a very enjoyable recording that combines the familiar with the less well-known to great effect. Having been a duo since the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in 2000 the pair represent all that's good about small-scale, song-based jazz. Stand out track: an English take on Horace Silver's 'Senor Blues'.

 

01/04/2004 Bill Bruford, for fish.co.uk

This 13 track CD showcases Kirsten Winter's vocals backed by Chris Peirce's acoustic guitar, with no other musicians. Occasionally it is vocals only ("Come Rain or Come Shine"), or solo guitar ("Gozinta Soup"), but for the most part it's a beautifully pure duo musical setting with the obvious advantages and potential pitfalls for performer and listener alike.

For those who perenially complain that they can't hear the words, there's no problem here in this pristine and well-recorded environment. You could hear a fly landing on the music stand.

From the artists' point of view, there is nowhere to hide in such an acoustic duo, no blaring horn section to get lost in, so they need to be very sure of their ability to deliver in such a delicate gossamer web, with such minimal armament, over a whole CD; above all, they'll need variety, vocabulary and control.

And variety they have, particularly in the choice of material, often the cause of sleepless nights for many a singer. When they get it right, as with Mark Knopfler's "Why Worry?" or the brilliant version of Isaac Guillory's "Slow Down", or the reggae version of Dylan's "I Shall be Released", or indeed much of the album, it's as if, reinforced instinctively by the harmony of performer and material, they just know, exactly, what to do.

...Peirce has lots of golden moments; beautiful arpeggios and a strong solo on "You Must Believe in Spring", a confident rhythmic stride on Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine", great flexibility with phrasing and rhythm in the solo of "Cry Me A River", and his solo "Gozinta Soup" would no doubt bring the house down in a club.

Such vocabulary will require your partner to respond, and Winter likewise has plenty of resources at her command. I particularly liked the slightly sinister intro to "All or Nothing At All", the beautiful crescendo opening to "Cry Me A River", and her finely wrought rendition of "Slow Down", which must surely be the high spot of this excellent CD.

...These affairs are all about detail, a reduction to the barest essentials a nakedness, if you like, coupled with the perfect song. On one level, Kirsten Winter and Chris Peirce function admirably as a highly talented pub duo, and on another level, they are one step away from Peggy Lee and "Fever." It wouldn't surprise me at all to see them on a major label any day now.

 

01/09/2003 Kathy Dyson, for 'Musician'.

This up and coming duo of Kirsten Winter and Chris Peirce's voice and guitar, play pleasing and well crafted arrangements of standards, folk, blues and contemporary songs. Kirsten's voice sounds sweetly at home in You Must Believe in Spring, with sure and sensitive accompanying from Chris Peirce and quite lovely chord solos in between the choruses on acoustic guitar, on this and many of the tracks. A blues infused A train chugs along nicely with walking basslines and Isaac Guillory's Slow Down, does just that. Kirsten's developing scat singing shows great promise and she can change mood, feel and voice texture at the drop of a hat, making for real contrast between tracks.

 

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