This week’s prize draw for newsletter subscribers is the new CD from Jacqui Hicks. Jacqui is originally from Yorkshire. As a teenager and into her twenties she sang and played saxophone in NYJO. And she’s been working and accumulating experience ever since.
Jacqui is a wonderfully strong jazz singer. She’s made two CDs with pianist John Critchinson. The first, With a Song in My Heart, was five years ago. This new one, A Child is Born, is the second. Also on the album is a rhythm section heaven – Dave Green and Tristan Maillot – plus Martin Shaw and Bobby Wellins. First call, first take players all round.
I go for the authority with which Jacqui just nails things, and gets them down as clear as a bell. And then there’s a sense of passing on the melodic line like a relay baton – which makes her and Critch ideal partners. And then there’s her range – from really quiet perfection (Josef Nyrow’s Autumn Nocturne is a jewel) to an incredibly punchy and forceful rendition of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.
This is a cut-down version of a review I’ve just recorded for Blast Radio