Album reviews

Miriam Ast Trio – ‘Tales & Tongues’

Miriam Ast Trio – Tales & Tongues

(Unit/Bandcamp. Album review by Rolf Thomas (*))

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Young German vocalist Miriam Ast – she studied at RAM in London – is accompanied by a pianist (Daniel Prandl) and a cellist (Jörg Brinkmann), original and unusual in itself. The repertoire of “Tales & Tongues” is equally original and unusual too: folk songs such as “Danny Boy”, “Die Gedanken sind frei” (the anthem of the 1848 revolution) or “Zogen einst fünf wilde Schwäne” (the early 20th century anti-war song). One might imagine these tunes were now going to get “jazzed up”. But no, Ast, whose music has been described by no less a vocalist than Norma Winstone as being “full of beauty and imagination”, was never going to do anything as simple or as obvious as that. Take “Scarborough Fair”. Everyone knows what Simon & Garfunkel did with it. Ast limits herself to the melody (she could have employed looping harmonies, but chooses not to), slows the song down a lot and finally departs from it, exactly at the point where parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme come into play. Later, we find Ast scatting quite brilliantly, pumping up the song with beauty and imagination in a way which completely validates Norma Winstone’s diagnosis and  assessment of her talent. 

LINKS: Miriam Ast’s website

(*) This is Sebastian’s English version of Rolf Thomas’s German review – published here with Rolfs permission – which appeared in Jazzthing 149 – LINK

Categories: Album reviews, Reviews

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