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World Music CD Reviews Jazz


By Rob Weir
Published June 27, 2006

At The Wood's Heart

When it comes to mixing traditional music and cool jazz, June Tabor’s torch is the one that lights the path. The opening phrase of her newest album, “As I walked out on a midsummer’s morning,” feels like a winter café at midnight the way Tabor sings it. This talented vocalist can even invest a pop tune like “Heart Like A Wheel” with smoky pathos, so it’s easy to imagine what she does with “Ah! The Sighs,” or the unrequited-love ballad “She’s Like The Swallow.” Tabor goes positively Parisian on her cover of Gabriel Yacoub’s “Les Choses les Plus Simple.” But it’s not all mood music; she tosses in a few upbeat selections that are a welcome contrast. Tabor manages to stir both soul and intellect through arrangements that are simultaneously sparse and complex. Her collaborators, including pianist Huw Warren, saxophonist Mark Lockheart, guitarist Martin Simpson and accordionist Andy Cutting, know how to wow the listener with a single note, just as Tabor can impress with a single sigh.