Josh Kyle – ‘Possibilities’ Album Launch
(Pizza Express Dean Street. Thursday 20th October. Review by Fran Hardcastle)
It’s audacious to open a set with an a cappella solo, as 24 year-old Australian vocalist did on Thursday. He delivered Stardust with such impeccable tuning, beautiful phrasing and clarion tone that he not only pulled it off with aplomb, he had the audience captivated right from the outset, for the launch of his debut album ‘Possibilities’.
The album has been two years in the making and is a creative collaboration between Kyle and bassist Geoff Gascoyne, combining originals and some great contemporary arrangements. They showcased a wealth of variety in style. Originals like Roll-On have a nu-jazz vibe. There was a lot of head-bopping at my table.
His choices of covers included a delicious laid back version of Larry Willis’ The Prize with original lyrics by Kyle. Robin Aspland on piano gave a joyously energetic solo. The Thrill is Gone was given the slow funk treatment, which fed a meaty solo from Geoff Gascoyne on bass.
Kyle’s voice is something rather special. He plays with the tone in a mature manner that shows a real awareness of his instrument. Vibrato is used sparingly and to great effect. He delicately brings in touches of a sumptuous breathy sound. Most captivating is his honeyed but strong falsetto.
The political songs, such as the original Save the World and Djavan’s Amazon are lyrically a touch unsubtle for my taste but musically very enjoyable. An effectively used sampler and driving beat from Ralph Salmins on Amazon really brought the track up to date.
I was downloading tracks onto my iphone before I’d even left the building. This will be an album I will come to know well. The only thing which can be a bit distracting is Kyle’s occasional gurning facial expression. But the sheer coolness of the music, combined with the potency of his voice should reach audiences far beyond the jazz world.