I have also posted this on my main Information Overlord Blog.
A Few years ago I heard a song on Soundcloud that I immediately adored. It was a jazzy little number played on acoustic guitar and the accompanying vocal just hit that sweet spot - you know, that spot where you just stop everything you doing and listen. Here was a woman destined to sing jazz and lounge songs.
Many Soundcloud songs later, most of which repeated that initial connection I felt between style and songstress, there is a full debut album. [ Ok, so strictly speaking it's the second album as there was an acoustic album in 2012 called The Attic Sessions - four songs from which get the full band treatment on this new record]
And a delightful record it is too. A collection of twelve self penned songs that take in both American and European jazz influences, and sprinkles on soupcon of latin, bossa nova, and cool blues to add additional colour.
There isn't really a dud track on the whole record, and most of it is simply a delight. Whether it be the laid back and atmospheric piano driven English Afternoon or Like the Sea, or the foot tapping melodies of A Slow Night for Crime and When the Sun Comes up I'm Gone, or even the smokey Jazz club MMH MMH, MMH MMH, this is a great collection of self penned songs.
When I listen to the album I hear the influences of Kurt Weill, Sting, and New Orleans Jazz (and more). But it's not all that you'd expect, What would I Give for example actually has a has a touch of the Terry Jack's 'Season's in Sun' melody about it, but in a good way.
The album was recorded at Jambona Lab in Cascina, Italy. Anju produced it herself and it was well engineered by Antonio Castiello. She's brought together a great set of Tuscan musicians including: Silvia Bolognesi (double bass), Andrea Melani (drums), Piergiorgo Pirro (piano), and Tony Cattano (trombone) to help add colour and depth to her songs. They sound a great bunch of guys to play with.
Perhaps the only thing I have not mentioned about that first exposure to Anju was that I also sat there thinking how much I'd love to here her sing one of my songs . The only problem with that was that I didn't really have any material that was in either jazz or lounge that might tempt her. So I wrote one, purely in the hope she'd say yes. Luckily for me she did.
I don't mention this because it is on this album, it's not, but because the resultant song remains one of my proudest songwriting moments, and Anju was a delight to collaborate with. [Although my rather ham-fisted attempts to 'play' the instruments via synth - the bass, piano and brass elements - leave a lot to be desired, and only offer a sense of what the song is about]
You can buy the album on iTunes , or via her Bandcamp site [It's also available via Spotify]
Our track, Blue Lamp is embedded below.