With a Song in My Heart - Gill Manly - In Tune International

Coming my way without prior knowledge of the singer, there was much to admire when listening to With A Song In My Heart (Linn AKD 328), a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, featuring Gill Manly, a colourfully attired lady judging from the artwork, who apparently last released an album in 1996. If anyone has this album I would appreciate hearing more about it as judging from this superb collection, we may have missed a treat, for the mainly London-based Gill has a warmly evocative vocal style which really should have been fully appreciated over the intervening years. However, I'm sure she has been honing her vocal craft in a few smoky jazz cellars somewhere as well as seeking a pathway to personally enlightenment. No doubt, such experiences have gained her maturity of vision and a deeply felt emotional gravitas in order to interpret the song choices on this album. Besides, with the venerated Simon Wallace (piano), Mark Hodgson (double bass), Ralph Salmins (drums) and Guy Barker (trumpet) to light the way, she has the advantage of a musicians fan-base in which to preview her wares. Gill obviously has a weakness for Ellington with ‘Daydream', ‘Take Love Easy' and ‘Sittin' and a-rockin'' allowing her to stake her claim, leaving ‘Midnight Sun', ‘Spring Will Really Hang You Up The Most' and ‘September Song' to brightly shine. The title song and ‘Where or When' show her poignant way with choice Rodgers and Hart ballads whilst jazzy ‘Love For Sale' is briefly prefaced by Bernard Hermann's moody ‘Taxi Driver' movie theme as the ideal showcase for Guy Barker's magnificent playing. In any case, anyone who can vocally nail ‘Lush Life' and also enlist the enriching vocal service of the great Mark Murphy to share ‘I Keep Going Back To Joe's' gets my support with my sincere hope Linn Records will hold on to Gill for more albums of this quality.

In Tune International
09 June 2009