Rachel Gould with the Renato D’Aiello Quartet
(Pizza Express Dean Street. January 19th 2012. Review by Sarah Ellen Hughes)
Rachel Gould is an American jazz singer, now resident in the UK having spent many years living in Holland. As such, the maturity and experience that she brings to her profession is considerable. A singer who has recorded with Chet Baker amongst others, proved at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, that she is up there amongst the best.
Gould was performing with an international quartet led by UK-based Italian saxophonist Renato D’Aiello, whom she met whilst singing in Europe. Their friendship has remained strong, and their rapport on stage showed the mutual respect they have for each other.
The quartet was fantastic: Enzo Zirilli, as always a force to be reckoned with at the drums; bassist Nicola Muresu with his nimble fingers. Renato D’Aiello was superb on tenor saxophone, his soloing terrific throughout. Boy, can he swing. And Bruno Montrone was a revelation at the piano, drawing lyrical horn-like phrasing out of the instrument, whether ballad or bebop. No wonder he’s hailed as one of Italy’s finest young players.
Gould, though, was the star of the show. Admittedly, I felt that she was not entirely comfortable at points – this may have been owing to her slight bashfulness and unassuming personality – but she certainly nailed the vocals. There was a touch of Carmen McRae about her, particularly in the swooping and soaring of phrases, the deeply resonant low notes and faultless diction. Gould’s sprightly and sure-footed octave-hopping (I reckon the range is about three) in I want to be happy was particularly impressive.
Two tunes really grabbed me. A D’Aeillo original (instrumental) called Sea Goddess, was wonderful, and gave Muresu a chance to show off his fast fingerwork. Gould’s rendition of What is there to say, by Vernon Duke, was the highlight of the second set – a daringly slow arrangement impeccably delivered.
Now that she’s a resident here, I hope to be seeing Rachel Gould on our jazz stages much more.