“We have a lot of fun,” said Lisa, pointing out the ironic humour of the title, “Nice Work – if you can get it!” which typifies the band’s easy swinging approach, both on the recording and as a live act. On this album their sense of humour is shown in the selection of material such as Michael Frank’s “Popsicle Toes”, Irving Berlin’s “The Best Thing for You (would be me)”, and Nat (King) Cole’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right.”
More good humour is to be found in their cheesy vocal arrangements throughout the album, notably in their versions of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”, Vince Jones’ “Sensual Item”, as well as the Gershwin title track.
Jazz ballads are favoured by the band, and they have included three beautiful examples from Johnny Mercer, Vince Jones and Burt Bacharach which showcase the emotive power of Lisa Yeates’ vocal abilities.
The one original track on the album is “U Don’t Have to Be,” a boppy latin swing number written and sung by the band’s guitarist Ian Rowe. Direct and positive, this tune is sure to have mainstream appeal.
Pared down to a basic guitar trio for the extended improvised solos, the band displays a high degree of individual musicianship, and the musical interaction and risk-taking between the guitar, bass and drums produces interesting and at times surprising flights of collective fancy.
All in all, an impressive debut for a very likeable band.
Skylarks have now expanded their line-up with the inclusion of keyboardist Nick Peterson, well-known throughout the region both as a musician and music educator, and are now refining a further selection of popular jazz songs for a forthcoming new album.
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