It is wonderful to find that singer Isabel Santol’s 2008 journey to the heart of love has proved to be so much more than a one-night stand. Her album of that year, The Love Recordings (ATS-Records 0669), provided fresh new interpretations of nine American Songbook classics of yearning and love. Alternating between a titillating coolness and melancholic worldly wisdom, she liberated these classics from the kitsch that so often mars their performance
and illuminated their innermost core: their devotion to love. This made the songs shine anew and earned her critical acclaim.
Now, three years later, it has become apparent how far this passion has got under her skin. Her songs of love have progressed into a full-blown affair. Fittingly, her newest album is entitled London Affairs (ATS-Records 0753) and it is even spicier – 14 tracks, running over 50 minutes, self-produced in England. Once again, Isabel Santol succeeds at making over–familiar classics like Puttin’ On the Ritz, La Vie En Rose and Blue Moon worth revisiting. Not because her interpretations are radically new, but because of her belief in the power of tradition, so that her interpretations are classic rather than eccentric.
Appropriately, this Austrian jazz singer has invited musicians who are highly regarded throughout England into her studio. Julian Joseph at the piano merges jazz and classical music. Since 1991 he has recorded four albums, played alongside various bands and hosted jazz shows for both television and radio in Great Britain. His piano drives the music of this album, as does the rhythm section's breezy mix. It consists of bassist Mark Hodgson (Jamie Cullum, Bill Bruford, Randy Brecker, Matthew Herbert among others) and drummer Paul Clarvis (Mick Jagger, Annie Lennox, Terence Blanchard, Michel Legrand, Michael Nyman, Hugh Masekela, The Orb and others). This top-class trio creates a suspenseful space marked by a clarity of sound in which Santol transverses the heights and depths of each melody with a sparkling gracefulness.
If these are, as Santol claims, her “jazz bar classics,” then such finely crafted standards certainly do not belong in cellar bars. London Affairs belongs in elegant lounges where jingling jewels replace polite applause. (And for those wanting more, a bonus track of Cole Porter’s ‚Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ is available for download!) The package is complete. London Affairs is vocal proof of a time-tested and continuous love for the art of song.
Harald Justin, Music Publicist, Vienna, October 2011
01. Sentimental Journey (3:26)
02. Lover Man (4:37)
03. Just a Gigolo (4:06)
04. Puttin' On the Ritz (3:29)
05. Too Darn Hot (2:44)
06. La Vie En Rose (4:27)
07. Blue Moon (4:27)
08. Honeysuckle Rose (3:14)
09. Tea For Two (2:58)
10. Blue Velvet (5:16)
11. After You Get What You Want (3:11)
12. That Old Black Magic (3:00)
13. Lili Marleen (German) (3:11)
14. Lili Marleen (English) (3:23)