Houston Person with Bill Charlap
You Taught My Heart To Sing * * * * *
(High Note HCD 7134)

Person has been playing the tenor saxophone for so long that it seems as natural as speaking; Charlap may have been playing the piano for a lot less time, but he has the music in his genes.

The opener, music by McCoy Tyner, is You Taught My Heart To Sing, and after an intro from Charlap as classy and well-wrought as a Rolex, Person comes in so close you can almost feel his breath on your cheek.

Both men know the standards, both famous and obscure, so intimately that it seem they are hardly conscious of what they’re doing – though of course we all know that to make things sound this easy takes not only years and years of hard work but a certain natural genius.

S’Wonderful, If I Ruled The World, Sweet Lorraine, Namely You, together with a pair of equally solid original tunes – they just roll over the listener like waves of pleasure.


Chris Garrick & John Etheridge
The Dimming Of The Day * * * *
(Flying Blue FLY4)

Etheridge is a guitarist for all seasons and all situations – whether reworking Frank Zappa or paying homage to Django Reinhardt.

Garrick is a violinist with a thoroughly personal voice on the instrument and the technique to be able to express it eloquently.

Together they work their way through a range of music from the majestic English folk of Richard Thompson’s title track, to the delicacy of film themes from both William Walton and Ennio Morricone, the traditional Londonderry Air, some Astor Piazzola from his southern hemisphere answer to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and, of course, a couple of Hot Club of France tunes.

Garrick is a little too formal to be a strong jazz improviser, but he makes up for it with a sensitive melodic touch and a wide range of timbre and emotional resonance. Etheridge, of course, delights on every level.|Peter Bacon



Various Artists
World Circuit presents… * * * * *

This independent record label and its boss, Nick Gold, have been responsible for some of our most treasured world music moments over the last 20 years.

If they were celebrating this anniversary with a double disc containing just those familiar songs – Buena Vista Social Club’s Chan Chan, Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder’s Soukara, Radio Tarifa’s Rumba Argelina, Orchestra Baobab’s El Son te Llama – that might make it an inessential addition to the well-stocked CD library.

But this beautifully compiled and presented collection not only reminds us of some of the highpoints of World Circuit’s output, it also contains some hitherto unheard gems from their vaults.

Among them is Dimi Mint Abba’s Song 4. She is the "diva of the desert", appeared at this year’s Womad festival and sings as if needing to reach the entire Sahara.

Solid gold from first track to last.


Various Artists
The Rough Guide to Yodel * * * *

Julian Clary is a great fan of yodelling – funny, the things you find out from listening to Desert Island Discs.

He will be swooning over this compilation which shows just how limited is our view of the singing style. The Alps are certainly not its only domain.

It sprang up independently in Africa, Russia, Mongolia and the Far East as well as in Switzerland, and was taken to America by both German settlers and West African slaves.

American contributions include Gillian Welch and Cathy Fink; there are the Ho’opi’i Brothers from Hawaii, Bollywood yodelling from Kishore Kumar and techno yodelling from Christine Lauterburg.