September 30, 2011

Basia - From Newport To London - Greatest Hits Live

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Recorded in Łódź, Poland, From Newport To London: Greatest Hits Live…And More marks a welcome return for the excellent Basia. With fifteen live songs plus three new studio recordings (written and produced by Basia and her long time Musical Director Danny White) the CD is the ultimate showcase for her work and a timely reminder of the sumptuous quality of her distinctive vocals.

Basia’s collaboration with keyboard player Danny White dates back to their early days together in the trio Matt Bianco. In 1987 she partnered with him for her platinum selling solo debut, Time And Tide and when the follow up, London Warsaw New York, also went platinum it seemed distinctly possible that only the sky would be the limit. The Sweetest Illusion followed in 1994 yet despite the fact her first live collection, Basia On Broadway, was released a year later, fans had to wait fourteen more years for her next studio project. Titled It's That Girl Again it served to underwrite the enduring writing and performing partnership of Basia and Danny White while also featuring Danny’s brother Peter White on guitar.

The fact that From Newport To London: Greatest Hits Live…And More has been produced to smoothly blend one track into the next serves to give the album a wonderful fluidity and the delightfully Latin ‘Third Time Lucky’ sets a zesty scene for what is to come. It is added to in no small measure by a dazzling keyboard solo by Danny White and as Basia runs off one magical hit after the other it is guitarist Giorgio Serci who comes up big for the familiar ‘Promises’. In fact the caliber of the supporting musicians is outstanding throughout and none more so than Marc Parnell on drums, sax-man Paul Booth and backing vocalists Veronique Clarisse and Annick Clarisse-Willequet.

Elsewhere Basia uses the shuffling beat of ‘Drunk On Love’ to keep the tempo high and although the jazzy swing of ‘How Dare You’ ratchets up the intensity even more it is with the passionate ‘Copernicus’ that she really explodes. ‘Asrud’ and ‘If Not Now Then When’ provide further glimpses of Basia at her Latin best whilst the studio recordings show off another side of her musical persona. The jazzy title cut is the first to be serviced to radio, the oriental flavor of ‘Wandering’ is as enticing as it is different but in terms of new music there is nothing to surpass the stunningly mellifluous ‘There’s A Tear’. It is right up there with the album’s best but, that said, the quality of this predominately live collection is exemplified by her rendition of the signature hit ‘Cruising For Bruising’. Sounding every bit as good as on the recorded version, this superb track is further enhanced by fine trumpet from Kevin Robinson.

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at September 30, 2011 8:20 PM