Feb 12, 2021
Vocalist Jacqui Naylor is best known for her ability to interpret a diverse repertoire, bringing together music from different genres and generations. On her new CD The Long Game, she moves from jazz arrangements of rock classics from David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Coldplay to Latin-tinged treatments of standards from Kurt Weill, Jimmy Van Heusen and Ray Henderson. Interwoven throughout are the singer’s own compositions, written with her partner, pianist, guitarist and arranger, Art Khu. Her band - bassist Jon Evans (Tori Amos, Paula Cole, Sarah McLachlan), drummer Josh Jones (Don Cherry, Omar Sosa, Steve Coleman) and Khu are as tight as ever, and show great restraint in their playing, leaving Jacqui’s voice center stage.
Ms. Naylor gained notoriety with an arranging technique she coined “acoustic smashing,” where she sings the lyrics and melody of a jazz standard over the groove of a well-known rock anthem or vice versa. “Acoustic Smashing marks a turning point in her career,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. On The Long Game, this technique can be heard as she sings “Fix You” from Coldplay while the band plays a Miles Davis-inspired “It Never Entered My Mind.” On previous recordings, Naylor included the Rodgers and Hart classic, “My Funny Valentine”, sung over AC/DC’s “Back In Black”, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top” over George Benson’s “Breezin’,” and the Gershwin Brothers’ “Summertime” over the groove of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post.”
Podcast 796 is my conversation with Jacqui as we discuss her band, the new CD, and her series of streaming concerts she has branded as “Home2Home.” Musical selections from The Long Game include “Like Someone in Love,” “Space Oddity,” and “Fix You.” Her webcast "album release party" will be streamed tomorrow evening at 8:00 EST. Sign up here.