Saturday 17 December 2011

Rainsongs and Painsongs - pt.3

Rainsongs and Painsongs is the new edition of YHO which can be downloaded as a pdf here, free for all. It is at heart a celebration of Julie Tippetts' work, very much inspired by her collaboration with Martin Archer on Tales of FiNiN which is undoubtedly the most rewarding record of recent times.
Of course being YHO there are all sorts of wild and winding detours involved in this issue. So, thinking about how Julie has used her voice in exciting ways, attention passes on to others who have done the same thing. Specific mention is made of the great Norma Winstone. When I think of Norma I think immediately of her work with Michael Garrick, mainly because the LP The Heart is a Lotus is such a pivotal thing for me. Buying that record when Vocalion reissued it opened the door to so much great British jazz. And for me Norma's often wordless vocals connected perfectly to so many other things, such as the Swingle Singers and Barbara Moore.
Sadly Michael Garrick died as I was putting together this issue of YHO which added a real poignancy to all the records of his I was listening to over and over. I am a particular fan of the records where he has Norma featuring as the vocalist, stretching herself. Troppo, from 1973, for example is fantastic.
Norma naturally has been the featured singer on many other records. Like Julie Tippetts she has few headlining sets to her name. But these are worth seeking out. The first of these, Edge of Time, features for example the extraordinarily beautiful Song of Love, while every song on 1987's Somewhere Called Home makes you hold your breath in awe. Just dare to breathe when listening to her sing Celeste.
Sometimes I think Norma sings like an enchanted chorister, and actually that 'devotional' sense may be quite apt. Michael Garrick, I'm aware, did some fantastic work in combining jazz and the sounds of worship. While his music is not featured on YouTube there is a wonderful, tantalising clip of the Michael Garrick Sextet from 1968 performing one of its jazz praises from St Paul's Cathedral.

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