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Melody Express by Allison Neale

With a tone reminiscent of the Paul Desmond school of cool jazz, Allison Neale gets right to the heart of the music with no useless fuss or clutter. Neale's alto tone is like brushed velvet as she dances around the melody with superb ensemble backing.

"Nancy With The Laughing Face" Matt Skelton's brush work is totally apropos to the message of the tune. He has the right idea, maybe a bit of smoothing out is all that is necessary. Thorpe's bass solo is understated power which makes it work beautifully. Allison Neale pays tribute to this lovely tune most graciously and with elegance.

"Stardust" is dusted off and given a slick new outfit with this stylish and easy going arrangement.

"Yvette" features a bit of bop on the menu as Neale stretches out on Gigi Gryce's classic. Skelton gives a lesson in embellishing the soloists without stepping on their efforts. Nice guitar soliloquy adds to the overall effect along with the tasty counterpoint between guitar and alto.

"Imagination" Sweetly swinging is the modus operandi and it works beautifully.

"How About You" West coast jazz is brought to mind with an easy gait that is the hallmark of this group.

"I'll Never Smile Again" Ruth Lowe wrote this tune over a lost love...She got married not long after this tune was penned. There were some fine changes made in this piece with Matt Skelton giving a clinic on how the drums need not be pounded into submission in order to swing.

This album is all about the music, no harsh or abrasive exercises or mindless notes with no cohesive meaning. One might say, it's as cool as the perennial South Beach cocktail.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Allison Neale
  • CD Title: Melody Express
  • Genre: Cool Jazz
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: 33jazz103
  • Tracks: Melody Express, Nancy With The Laughing Face, Curacao Doloroso, I Wish I Knew, Stardust, Yvette, Imagination, How About You, Portrait Of Jennie, Ill Never Smile Again'
  • Musicians: Allison Neale (as, flute), Dave Cliff (g), Simon Thorpe (b), Matt Skelton (d)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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