out of this world
Julie Dunn, John Horler, David Horler, Alec Dankworth, Winston Clifford, Tony Coe
Out of This World is Julie Dunn?s third album and that title both names the first song and is a fitting description of the album itself. It is a stunning and moving musical exploration of the tragic side of life. Almost all the songs deal directly and poignantly with love lost – Shadow of Your Smile, Blame It on My Youth, You Don?t Know What Love Is - or love unobtainable - All the Things You Are, Out of This World - or love in pain and breaking - But Beautiful, Not Like This, Well You Needn?t - or the trials of life and trying to overcome them - My Favourite Things, Mangled. A Felicidade is really about how fleeting happiness is and even Julie?s own soothing Lullaby has a wistful worry (about growing up) to it.
Her voice amazingly brings all these songs to vivid life and meaning, capturing the deep sadness and at the same time transcending it and turning it into an affirmation of human existence in spite of all its pain. This is what jazz at its best can do and her group, with whom she has been performing live, is one of the most expressive and cohesive groups on the scene. They infuse the special feeling of live performance into this album. Tony Coe brings to his three numbers a special melodic vibrancy as do all of the arrangements and piano playing of John Horler. Alec Dankworth and Winston Clifford - both outstanding rhythm men - also add deep texture and propulsion to the music. And David Horler contributes a suitably melancholy trombone to two tracks. The ensemble integration of the playing is truly a wonder. Listen to the solo sequence in Well You Needn?t for a vivid demonstration of how solos grow out of each other to create a deeply felt improvisational whole which fully realizes the song and is indicative of the whole album.
In conversation, Julie has eloquently said: "Words are of course incredibly important to any singer, even more exquisite when both lyric and melody/ harmony combine to make something truly inspirational and utterly compatible." And this is exactly how the music and the singing intricately interact in this album, creating a deeply moving experience for the listener.
Alan Pearlman, Canterbury 2012
A Sublime time at the Club
Julie Dunn & John Horler trio
Festival Club, 25.10.07 [Canterbury Festival 2007]
Slow ballads, instrumentals and up-tempo swing numbers filled the Festival Club for this concert by singer Julie Dunn, pianist John Horler..bassist Alec Dankworth and Canterbury maestro Tony Coe on sax and clarinet.
Much of the evening was devoted to songs from Ms Dunn's new album What's It All About, which was released last month, and is her first collaboration with Horler and Coe.
Numbers arranged by Horler rubbed shoulders with classics such as Cole Porter's Love for Sale, beautifully sung by Ms Dunn, whose voice was perfect for this type of song.
Duke Ellington's Caravan also featured, along with a fine duo between Ms Dunn and Horler performing the Bacharach theme song from the movie Alfie , and Autumn Leaves, an instrumental, which was great.
Julie Dunn really came into her own singing the slow numbers. Her rich and warm voice was perfect for these, the whole aided by some of the best musicians playing on the jazz circuit.
Sian Napier, Kentish Gazette 1.11.07
Reviews of Julie's latest CD, What's It All About, with the John Horler Trio,
Vocalist Julie continues her upward trend in jazz circles with this CD, the latest in a series of ever-improving releases. For this set, Julie has assembled a team of top flight jazz artists, including saxophonist Tony Coe, arranger John Horler, bassist Paul Morgan and drummer Quinny Lawrence. When artists of this calibre and Julie’s confident lead are combined with the songs of Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, and Burt Bacharach & Hal David, the result is a masterclass in small band jazz.
‘What’s It All About’ is a true feast for the ears; an upbeat Jazz record comprising new arrangements of standards and well known songs by the likes of Sonny Rollins, Cole Porter, Bacharach et al and Julie’s own composition ‘Waiting Room Blues’. The soulful jazz songstress teams up with the renowned John Horler trio and the album also features saxophonist and clarinet player Tony Coe, a musician who has played with none other than Pierre Boulez, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie!
‘With such an impressive guest list of highly skilled musicians who fit and play so well the album is likely to strike a note with many jazz devotees. A compelling rhythm section swings along as Julie effortlessly sings in her distinctive rich and smooth vocal style and shows her versatility with the occasional scat such as on their take of ‘Alfie’s Theme’ by Sonny Rollins and singing in French on track 4 ‘A L’Enterrement De Sidney Bechet’.
The stripped down ‘Close Enough for Love’ allows for a brief rest of your limbs as guitarist Phil Lee accompanies Julie for a touching rendition of Johnny Mandel’s famous composition.
The album was aptly released through 33 records; a label focused on all things of a jazz nature and can be purchased through www.jazzcds.co.uk
Julie has also pencilled in a tour beginning in April and running through to May this year. You can find out dates and venue details by visiting her website www.juliedunn.co.uk where you can also sample a few of the tracks on the album.
Being a lover of female jazz divas who was brought up in a home where Ella, Sarah and the divine Carmen McCrae were a constant musical accompaniment to childhood games, I approached this album by Julie - a British jazz singer with a growing reputation in clubland - with considerable expectation, particularly as the accompaniment here was provided by the John Horler Trio and John is one of the finest pianists UK jazz has ever produced.
I wasn't disappointed. Julie's tone is rich and warm and she glides around the deft Oscar Peterson-style arrangements with the confidence that only the most experienced vocalists can muster. I loved Phil Lee's liquid guitar solo on "Charade" while the occasional trumpet interjections of Ray Butcher, like on the French language "A L'enterrement De Sidney Bechet" (a tribute to the legendary clarinet maestro) is a delight.
But above all I loved Julie's relaxed, understated vocals which recall those vocal giants of my childhood yet caricature none of them (which cannot always be said of Corinne Bailey Rae when she gets into Billie Holliday mode). Listen to the skilful way Julie rides the rhythm on one of the album's few originals, "Waiting Room Blues" – her own composition – while her lugubrious reading of "You Go To My Head" is just the kind of slinky music you want to hear in the wee small hours of the morning.
Julie shows herself here to be a top rate singer. As and when she plays a club near me I'll be there.
Tony Cummings, Cross Rhythms
Julie Dunn/John Horler Trio with Tony Coe •
What’s it all about •
(33 jazz 161) ***
Julie Dunn’s follow up to her eclectic debut album strange but true sees her in the exalted company of Cleo Laine’s pianist John Horler and sax great Tony Coe. Compared to the debut , what’s it all about is a more focused, straight ahead offering, with Horler’s arrangements imbuing the standards-led collection with a real touch of class. Dunn’s appealing timbral shadings and expressive warmth make their mark on inventive versions of “Charade” (featuring Horler and guitarist Phil Lee in a great guitar/piano breakdown), a swinging “It’s All Right With Me” and a shimmering “You Go To My Head” .
It’s seemingly de rigueur for singers to include French language songs and Dunn includes two. The Gallic swing of “A L’Enterrement de Sidney Bechet” , a song associated with French chanteuse Patricia Kaas, works well, although a later reprise of “You Go To My Head” in French (“Vous M’Eblouissez”) seems to stretch the point a little. Though listed as playing sax only, Coe contributes some tasty work on clarinet, lighting up Dunn’s self-penned “Waiting Room Blues” with some unbelievably fast fingerwork.
Peter Quinn, Jazzwise, April 2008
Reviews of Julie's 1st CD, Strange But True
Incorporating everything from new age grooves, township music and trip hop to the piano/vocal ballad and even a four-to-the-floor remix, the album’s title track ‘Life Arrested’, ‘Song For My Children’ and ‘No Limits’ all make an immediately deep impression. Dunn possesses a rich vocal timbre, big range and an idiosyncratic vibrato that is used to effect on end words. She can also conjure up some wonderful backing vocal arrangements. The singer receives some excellent support from her pool of musicians, with guitarist Andy Christie’s versatility and powerful soloing making a particularly big impression.
Peter Quinn, Jazzwise Magazine
There is something very therapeutic about listening to Julie Dunn’s debut album Strange but True. It is a collection of uplifting and infectious songs that depict the world from a celebratory point of view, whilst still managing to challenge a number of sensitive issues around us.
Julie’s melodic voice is one very hard to replicate, the unforced technique used allows her to experiment with different sounds. With the support of her talented band improvising on the original compositions, the music is simply irresistible both for those who are fans of jazz and those who are not.
The album is heavily influenced by world music and contains a high cultural input. The dynamics of songs such as Freedom Song and Faux Pas will have you tapping along in no time and will be contagiously stuck in your head for days.
At the same time as producing catchy melodies, certain songs quite obviously have deeper meanings. Life Arrested fabricates the feeling of being exposed to fear with lines such as “Where’s my security?” yet at the same time being juxtaposed with a sense of warmth from the blues and contemporary genre.
The album’s penultimate song is a piano led ballad called December Sky which has the ability to send chills down your spine due to the vocals and harmonies of Julie herself. The record then ends on an up-tempo remix of one of the previous tracks, leaving you in a vibrant and contented mood.
The Wessex Muse Magazine
www.playingoutloud.co.uk - a monthly guide to live music in the South of England, with gig listings, articles, interviews, news, CD and gig reviews and much more…
“Let me say straight away that I’m not a particular fan of jazz - why does it always sound better late at night? This album comes within the more accessible parameters of the genre, and the best thing about it is Julie Dunn’s pure, unforced voice. Standout songs for me are “Freedom Song” which also gets a bonus remix at the end of the album, and the plaintive “Every December Sky,” a beautiful ballad. Julie has gathered together some talented musicians - Ray Butcher’s brass arrangements are particularly pleasing - for an album which should appeal to a wide audience. I’ve always enjoyed jazz live rather than on CD, and I look forward to catching Julie at one of her gigs in the South soon.”
Peter Ashton, Playingoutloud
“The debut release by jazz vocalist and pianist Julie sees her joining a commanding array of talent including trumpeter Ray Butcher and sax demon Ben Waghorn in presenting a delightful set of cuts on the funky side. African elements provide a pleasant diversion from the mainstream on track three, Freedom Song, and underline Julie’s versatility. While a cover of Beth Chapman’s Every December Sky touches the heart, it is with her own material - No Limits and Song For My Children, for example - that Julie truly shines. Impressive.”
Keith Ames - Musicians Union magazine
“Julie’s music is totally unique and original - her jazzy vocals give you goose bumps, making you want to keep listening.
Jo Philips, Somerset Sound