Stories Yet To Tell is something very special indeed from British jazz singer Norma Winstone. Somehow, all the material on this album summarizes what the ECM label is all about: spacious, haunting music that leaves you with a sense of lingering reflection at what you have just listened to. It's the kind of music where the space between the notes and tracks is as important as the notes being played.
Hard to classify or label in terms of content, one thing the album isn't is in your face. This is a collection of haunting, slow ballads: songs of yearning, regret, reflection and meditation, tinged with a sense of mystery and storytelling that is influenced by a range of musical styles. In places, the music is almost Eastern in terms of its meditative rhythms and tones, with Winstone's laments wailing hauntingly over the gentle sounds of piano and bass clarinet.
Winstone's voice is beautifully controlled throughout, and she is accompanied with virtuoso performances by Gesing and Venier. The stripped back sound, with voice only being accompanied by piano and reeds, is entirely in keeping with the mood and atmosphere of the album. In the hands of some, this would tend towards the monotonous, but there is simply not a dud track or bum note in 53 minutes of music.
Winstone recently performed some of this material at the 2010 London Jazz Festival; proving that the trio's ability to recreate the haunting atmosphere of the studio recording in a live environment is certainly possible. You could hear a pin drop during the live performance - the album too will leave you spellbound.
Riding high in several UK jazz polls for 2010 Album of The Year - this is certainly an ECM recording to check out from the 2010 releases. It is absolutely stunning.