Album reviews

Rebecca Vasmant – ‘With Love, From Glasgow’

Rebecca Vasmant – With Love, From Glasgow

(REBREC001 LP review by Adam Sieff)

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There have been a number of records released recently celebrating the jazz scenes which are being redefined by young musicians and new audiences in cities including Los Angeles, New York, London and Chicago.

Now add Glasgow to the growing list, with the help of an extraordinary new album from that city’s DJ and producer Rebecca Vasmant. She is the catalyst and driving force behind With Love, From Glasgow, a personal musical statement which also shines a light on the city’s exciting pool of jazz talent that includes graduates from the RCS Jazz course.

Through her position as a club and festival DJ and a broadcaster on Worldwide FM and BBC Radio Scotland, she has all the credentials necessary to be a jazz messenger and spread the word: ’it’s an exciting time because the jazz scene in Glasgow feels young and fresh with new bands forming every month, with a real hunger for their music to be heard around the world’.

The idea for WLFG developed from Vasmant’s electronic music and jazz project Glasgow Jazz Experiment with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s Chris Greive (piano/trombone).Two of the collaborations, Morning (Mourning) and Pride of Winter, are reprised here, which also feature the classically trained Nikki Foster (voice), Lorne Cowieson (trumpet/flugelhorn) and David Robertson (percussion).

Released on digital and vinyl that’s cut and pressed at Pallas in Germany, it’s the first release on her Rebecca Records imprint (with label partner !K7 Records)andwas recorded and mixed by Vasmant at her home using just a MacBook, Ableton Live software and one microphone, a method in keeping with the city’s jazz scene’s strong DIY ethos. She would start the process by composing and laying down the bare bones of an idea to work on, then record each musician’s performance individually, the music taking shape and fitting together like a jigsaw with everyone’s contribution supporting her ideas and words.

And it works very well, the music ebbs and flows through electronic keyboard textures to more uptempo beats, creating a warm and spiritual feeling. I loved Emilie Boyd’s vocal on a floating Autumn Leaves (an original, not the standard) with Lorne Cowieson’s trumpet and flugelhorn over Tom Gibbs’ Fender Rhodes. I want to hear more of saxophonist Harry Weir after hearing his playing on the first single Jewels of Thought, a track with a touch of The Creator Has a Master Plan about it, and both Weir and Cameron Thomson Duncan’s trumpet are terrific on Timing’s End, the mellow second single. Nadya Albertson delivers agorgeous vocal performance on the excellent Freefall, and Gillian Katungi (Paix) recites poetry over an insistent Brodie Jarvie’s looped double bass.

Vasmant has developed into an excellent producer, she has great taste and her heart is in the right place: ‘I want people to feel how much of a massive fan I am of jazz and spiritual jazz and to show my respect to the albums I love and the artists who made them. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to collaborate with all these amazing musicians we have in Glasgow. I love this music and music makes my life better’.

With Love, From Glasgow is released on 4th June 2021

LINKS : Bandcamp

On Video: Timing’s End

Categories: Album reviews

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