Friday 20 November 2020

'Speak Low II' by Lucia Cadotsch


Lucia Cadotsch excitingly delves back into her covers series with the release of 'Speak Low II' which once again sees her unite the dream-team comprising of herself, bassist Petter Eldh and saxophonist Otis Sandsjö.

The Zurich-born vocalist released 'Speak Low' back in 2016 and backed by just Eldh's bass and Sandsjö's saxophone, the trio tackled some of jazz's richest catalogue with revered standards ingeniously recreated like 'Slow Hot Wind', 'Strange Fruit', 'Don't Explain' and 'Ain't Got No / I Got Life'.  The album was very much a love letter to jazz's icons like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone who, in truth, have both had their catalogues revisited countless times and in countless ways but the ambition put forward for 'Speak Low' is genuinely unparalleled.  With the bold arrangement of just bass and saxophone employed throughout, the results were hauntingly brilliant and musically dynamic with Cadotsch's vocal immersed in an exquisite mystique.  

The following year saw the release of 'Speak Low Renditions' which took these elegant minimal arrangements and reimagined them within the realms of moody electronica-based compositions and remixes courtesy of Marc Lohr, Julian Sartorius and Colin Vallon amongst others.

'Speak Low' serves as one of an increasing amount of projects pairing Eldh's bass and Sandsjö's saxophone.  Of particular note is the Eldh-helmed Koma Saxo project released through Helsinki's We Jazz label in 2019.  With a five-piece collective comprising of long-time friends and collaborators, and inspired in part by Eldh's passion for 90's-era hip-hop, the album proved to be a thrilling endorsement for everything contemporary jazz can and should be.  From there, the following year saw Eldh tackling the role of bassist and producer for the release of Sandsjö's sophomore album - again courtesy of We Jazz - 'Y-OTIS 2'.  And while Sandsjö is very much the star of the album, 'Y-OTIS 2' still serves as another triumph to the tag team of Eldh & Sandsjö as the two-man band now turn their attention back to the continuation of Cadotsch's vision. 

Another stunning selection of tracks are revisited on 'Speak Low II' like 'Azure' and 'Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair' and this time with slight alterations with the arrangements as guests Kit Downes on hammond organ and Lucy Railton on cello are invited into the sessions, nicely adding new dimensions to what we've become accustomed to from the Cadotsch-Eldh-Sandsjö trio.

Lucia Cadotsch is an exceptional talent and while she excels on anything she turns her hand to - see also her 'Time Rewind' album with the Science Fiction Band - there's a real magic with Cadotsch, Eldh and Sandsjö, and 'Speak Low II' absolutely serves as a further triumph for all concerned.

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