CD Review: Zoë Schwarz/Rob Koral/Ian Ellis – Slow Burn

Zoë Schwarz/Rob Koral/Ian Ellis – Slow Burn
(33Jazz229. CD Review by Chris Parker)

Singer Zoë Schwarz and guitarist/composer Rob Koral are a popular live attraction, dispensing their trademark mix of personalised standards and blues (both classic and original) to festival and club audiences worldwide, and this is their fifth album in three years.

Slow Burn adds the powerfully emotive tenor of Ian Ellis to the duo sound, but the pair’s formula remains basically the same: well-honed songs are soulfully and intelligently interpreted by the versatile Schwarz, her robust, gutsy but sensitive treatments of both standards (here ‘Angel Eyes’, ‘I Cover the Waterfront’, ‘Detour Ahead’ and ‘Willow Weep for Me’) and blues skilfully complemented by Koral’s unshowy but perfectly judged guitar.

Ellis brings a throaty urgency to proceedings, both in his solo commentaries, and (particularly in the closer, the Lloyd C. Glenn/Lowell Fulson burner, ‘Sinner’s Prayer’) his musicianly blending with Koral on theme statements, and the resultant album (purposely recorded ‘live’ to re-create the spontaneous spirit of their stage show) is a worthy successor to its much-acclaimed predecessor, Celebration.

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