Weathering The Storm with Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie

Weathering The Storm was released in the May of 2020 on the Lateralize Records label by Jo Harrop, vocals, and James McCredie, guitarist. In the liner notes the album is described as:

Effortlessly blurring the lines between jazz and folk, Weathering The Storm is an achingly beautiful and intimate album that is so shot through with pathos and pain, it could melt the hardest of hearts.

The note makes the listener aware of what to anticipate in terms of emotional response to the music but, having listened to the album several times, understates the strength of that reaction.

Weathering the Storm consists of eleven tracks, some well-known in the jazz repertoire others are from genres that some listeners of jazz vocals may be less familiar with:

1 My Foolish Heart (Victor Young / Ned Washington)
2 I Fall In Love Too Easily (Jule Styne / Sammy Cahn)
3 Tenderly (Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence)
4 Take It With Me (Tom Waits / Kathleen Brennan)
5 Guilty (Randy Newman)
6 More Than You Know (Vincent Youmans / Billy Rose / Edward Eliscu)
7 You Must Believe In Spring – (Michel Legrand / Jacques Demy / Alan & Marylin Bergman)
8 Charade (Henry Mancini / Johnny Mercer)
9 Early Autumn (Woody Herman / Johnny Mercer / Ralph J Burns)
10 In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (David Mann / Bill Hilliard)
11 If (David Gates )

This is the perfect late-night jazz album: there is little variation in the tempo across the eleven tracks and in this instance that does not detract from the enjoyment of the album as a whole, in fact I would suggest that it adds to the intimacy and poignancy of the music chosen.

Jo Harrop’s voice is, quite simply, a delight to listen to. The lyrics of the songs are put over in such a way that you believe in every word sung. There is such beauty in the tone, depth, and warmth of Jo’s vocal style that I could happily listen to for hours at a time. As good as the vocals are without matching accompaniment this album would not work as well as it does.

Jamie McCredie’s guitar playing is the perfect example of less is more: each note played is as important as each word sung. The playing is light, sensitive and perfectly supports the vocals of Jo Harrop – just listen to track eight “Charade” where Jamie evokes the Parisian style of the original film of 1963.

Weathering The Storm is one of those albums that comes complete, so much so that the complex arrangements and hours spent perfecting the material to bring a personal touch can be forgotten as the finished performances sound so natural and spontaneous and totally absorbing.

Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie – Weathering the Storms of Life: jazzviews.net

That quote from Jazz Wise’s interview with Jo Harrop is one I would defy anyone who hears this album to argue with.

Weathering The Storm is available via Bandcamp

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