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‘About Time’ is the title of Scarborough saxophonist, Julia Wray’s debut album and the title couldn’t be more appropriate to those of us who’ve followed Julia’s career, since her first utterances, with Hamp’s Tramps, in the early 1990’s. Unlike the majority of artistes, who seem to have a cd, realeased before the reverb on their first performance has died away, Julia has spent many years refining her technique, learning from and playing with, some of the top reed players in the business. Julia’s standing in jazz circles has meant that she was able to call on some of the best sidemen in the region, to accompany her on the cd, as well as in live performance. Paul Tilley on drums and percussion, is well known to local audiences and has appeared at legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in his own right, on more than one occasion. Peter Elsdon is one of the most innovative young jazz pianists in the country and the quartet is completed by, bass player Geoff Charmers who despite sounding like a seasoned pro, still has to carry ID, in order to get served at most of the venues where he plays! It is tribute to Julia’s confidence and her desire to constantly push the boundaries of her music, that has led her to include more original compositions than
covers on the album. The originals are composed by the aforementioned and extremely talented Paul Tilley. Far too often debut abums, in the jazz genre, are made up of the same old jazz standards in very familiar arrangements. This makes it very difficult for young composers to develop their art and add to the canon, so it is a refreshing change to hear as many as four originals on this album! Of the three covers, two are Cole Porter compositions; the old favourite ‘It Had to be You’ and the well known, but not quite as familiar in a jazz setting ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’. ’Eighty-One’ by awesome Double Bass player, Ron Carter, completes the cover versions. It will come as no surprise to Julia Wray’s many fans, that the playing on the album is inspired and adventurous throughout and sounds way too good for a debutante. Whether you’re an existing fan or you’ve never heard Julia play, I recommend that you see her sooner, rather than later, as on the evidence of this cd, it’s likely that demand for her talents will expand well beyond the boundaries of Scarborough, meaning that her future local performances are likely to be far fewer and further between.
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