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Kerry Hodgkin

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Reviews of Kerry Hodgkin

 

01/07/2010 Selwyn Harris - Jazzwise

*** (3 stars)
Hodgkin, a soul-folk-veined singer, is persuasive enough on a selection of songs, produced by Ian Shaw (Alan Barnes guests) that ranges from Leonard Bernstein to Van Morrison through to Billy Bragg.

 

14/11/2005 Paul Shaddick - Black Cat Jazz Club

We saw Kerry performing at the anniversary party of a local restaurant recently, and were so impressed we booked her for the Black Cat there and then.

She has a powerful and expressive voice which truely does justice to the jazz and blues standards she performs.

 

01/03/2004 Dave Nathan - All Music Guide

Londoner Kerry Hodgkin trained for an acting profession and plied that trade for awhile. In 1994 she hooked up with the Spirellas, a four part all-female a cappella group, performing various styles including soul and jazz. Since then she has been concentrating on her singing specialty.

The British label 33 Jazz has released this, her debut vocal album, which contains a spicy variety of standards, contemporary tunes with a blues/soul inflection, and just some rollicking, "let's have some fun" swinging stuff, both contemporary and from the past, such as a cover of "Love Potion No. 9," a big hit for the Clovers back in 1959.

Hodgkin's drama training does her in good stead, especially on those tunes which require conviction to make the music work. This ability comes through on such tunes as "Don't Explain." She has wide range and a voice that has more than an ordinary amount of muscle. But she also has the ability to control its use and adapt it to the tune she's singing at the time. "Miss Celie's Blues" is a good example of the application of this facility. Hodgkin's approach to this tune is somewhat more coquettish than one usually hears.

Since 1999, Hodgkin has struck up a working relationship with guitarist Ben Smith, who is highly visible on this album. His twangy blues guitar is a perfect foil for Hodgkin's impassioned reading of "Hurry Make Love." And the blues dominate on an emotional statement of fact recitation on "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You."

If ...And Everything is going to be the standard for this singer's future releases, then there's lots of good stuff to look forward to.

 

01/05/2002 Barry Witherden - JazzReview

Hodgkin studied at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama. Early showbiz experiences included a role in a police training video, dancing at a Birmingham nightclub and singing and dancing on a Sealink ferry. She subsequently did session work, including on Denim's Denim On Ice and The Serious Sound Syndicate's The Sounds of Being. She also appeared on the James Whale Show. Artists must pay their dues, but surely there's a limit to the suffering any human being should have to endure.

More recently life has been kinder, and so has the Prince's Trust, which helped her set up a business to promote her music. And then, 33 released this album. Hodgkin displays an ample stylistic range, and a not-unimpressive vocal range too. What really impresses though, is the controlled, accomplished demeanour with which she tackles material as various and unexpected as Lieber and Stoller's "Love Potion No. 9", Cole Porter's "Love For Sale", Peggy Lee's "He's A Tramp", Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Carole King's gospel-flavoured "Way Over Yonder". Maybe it's all that drama training, but she sings with what sounds like real conviction, a refreshing change from the mannered, contrived histrionics that currently dominate the popular music scene and sometimes infect jazz and blues too.

There are times when she recalls Eva Cassidy and even - incontinent praise indeed - Sheila Jordan. Ms Hodgkin evidently owns a copy of the Blue Note classic Portrait of Sheila: just hear the way she does those crescendi and diminuendi in the space of short note-values, and notice Metz's scurrying brushwork and the unexpectedly snappy tempo on the brief version of "Love For Sale". (Was the quartet really in the next room for this track?) Notice, too, Smith's economical yet wholly supportive accompaniment, playing Galbraith to Hodgkin's Jordan. On the surprisingly effective "Ain't No Sunshine" his solo is as much a model of restraint, of saying just what needs to be said, as his comping, and on "Hurry Make Love" he delivers some admirable Lightnin' licks.

Overall the effect is of promise maturing, and it'll be interesting to see how Hodgkin develops.

 

05/08/1995 Maddy Prior

All that talent, all that hair!

 

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