Jenny Green – Always and Forever

Alongside her performing and teaching, Jenny Green is also a radio presenter for Meridian FM based in East Grinstead and broadcasts a jazz programme every Tuesday from 6 to 8pm. She also runs and hosts the East Grinstead Jazz Club at the Chequermead Theatre in East Grinstead, now in its 5th year. And, if that were not enough, Jenny Green has found time to release a second album, Always and Forever – her first, Caught a Touch of Your Love,having been released back in 2014.

‘Don’t Sleep in the Subway’, sung back in 1967 by Petula Clark, opens the album with nice piano accompaniment from Adrian York. Jenny’s voice is clear and strong with good diction, it is a good song, but I felt that it missed a stronger jazz arrangement. However, that jazz sound is loud and clear on the second track, ‘Slow Hot Wind’. I like the way Jenny puts this tune across with a greater variation in tone, sultry at times. Rob Barron is at the piano for this track and is also responsible for the excellent arrangement – the middle section in particular stands out.

‘Do Wrong Shoes’ shows off Jenny’s fun cheeky side with a light swinging blues number. Chris Traves on trombone shines on this number with great support from Neville Malcolm on bass and Winston Clifford at the drums. I can imagine this tune going down very well at a live performance with Jenny playing the audience for all she is worth. The jazz content rises with ‘When in Rome’, written by Leigh and Coleman. The bass work throughout is terrific, the piano solo from Rob Barron likewise. There is a good drum solo that doesn’t overstay its welcome and Jenny’s vocals are pitched perfect for this number: a real old school toe tapper very well delivered.

‘Temptation’, a Tom Waits tune, is a well-arranged number that, after the introduction, breaks out in an Afro-Cuban styling that simply works. The band are in great form as is vocalist Jenny with her sharp delivery that brings out the best of the Latin rhythm: short, sharp, and great lyrics that Jenny delivers with panache. ‘Early to Bed’, in contrast to the previous track, has a softer lilting quality to it that would sound perfectly at home in a musical theatre setting. The song is gentle, uplifting and beautifully sung and played.

‘Always and Forever’, at around five minutes thirty, is the longest track on the album and is a cover of the 1977 release from Heatwave (number 9 in the UK charts if you are interested). Arranger, Adrian York has given the tune a more lyrical sound on which Jenny is given the opportunity to show off her vocal range and wonderful tone. The piano on this track is a joy to listen to and the overall delivery really does make this number stand out. ‘Blue Prelude’ picks up the tempo with Neville Malcolm picking up a lovely bass solo line which than gets lifted by Rob Barron at the piano before Jenny comes back in with another strong vocal performance.

‘Messin’ With Fire’ is delivered in a cabaret style with Adrian York’s percussive piano and matching drumming from Winston Clifford. There is an interlude from pianist and drummer that gives the tune a lovely stylistic break before returning to opening phraseology plus full tone vocals from Jenny: this is a good track. ‘The Touch of Your Lips’ is a romantic ballad written by Ray Noble in 1936. In 2021 the song still works with nicely phrased lyrics and a delightful trombone solo from Chris Traves.

The penultimate track is ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’, a widely recorded standard that does not suffer for its familiarity. This cover is full of energy, well sung with entertaining solos from the players of piano, bass, and drums. This tune packs a lot of great jazz in to such a short number. This brings us to Bert Bacharach and Elvis Costello’s ‘Painted from Memory’, the pairing’s album title track. Put simply, this is beautifully sung by Jenny Green with perfect accompaniment from pianist Rob Barron: a fitting end to a good album.

Until I was asked to listen to this album, I was unaware of Jenny Green and now that I have listened through Always and Forever several times, I am glad that I have been introduced. This is a good selection of tunes on which Jenny is able to show her vocal talent backed by musicians who know how to support her.

Tracklist:

1. Don’t Sleep in the Subway 2. Slow Hot Wind 3. Do Wrong Shoes 4. When in Rome 5. Temptation 6.  Early to Bed 7. Always and Forever 8. Blue Prelude 9. Messin’ with Fire 10. The Touch of Your Lips 11. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea 12. Painted from Memory

Musicians:

Jenny Green – Vocals

Neville Malcolm – Bass

Winston Clifford – Drums

Chris Traves – Trombone

Adrian York – Piano & arrangements on tracks 1,3,5,7,9 & 11

Rob Barron – Piano & arrangements on tracks 2,4,6,8,10 & 12

Backing vocals & percussion Clare Martin and Winston Clifford

Produced and recorded by Chris Traves and Claire Martin OBE

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