[Many thanks to Michael O’Neal (Society for Caribbean Studies) for bringing this item to our attention.] JAZZ UK presents jazz artist Alexia Gardner and her new album Feeling the Love, Songs of My Mother, Songs of My Father.
Jazz artist Alexia Gardner has shared her newest release, ‘Great Day,’ taken from her electrifying new album Feeling the Love, Songs of My Mother, Songs of My Father. The singer has maintained her place as one of the most high-profile jazz singers in the UK throughout the last two decades.
Having started her career as a teenager performing with her younger sister, Paula Gardner, Alexia developed a solo music career as an adult, becoming a highly sought-after jazz singer. Her captivating voice and versatile vocal range served her well throughout her early career, leading to her performing on luxury cruise liners across the Mediterranean and with luxury hotel groups in Asia. She also performed for several Heads of State, including Nelson Mandela in Kuala Lumpur in 2001.
These varied experiences were formative for Alexia and helped her hone her particular style of jazz music. What defines Alexia’s music and sets her apart from other jazz singers is how she seeks out both well-trodden and obscure songs from the canon – and reshapes them into something utterly original with her voice. Her voice sits very comfortably alongside many of the greats of jazz and soul music. You could readily compare her to the likes of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Across the ten tracks on Feeling the Love, Songs of My Mother, Songs of My Father, Alexia Gardner moves comfortably across different eras – from the ‘60s to the ‘80s to the ‘90s – as well as across different genres – from jazz to RnB, and even to soul-tinged hip-hop. It’s not just about showcasing Alexia’s versatility as a vocalist. These songs share common themes of joy, nostalgia, longing, love, and the power of music itself. Alexia does everything she can to ensure the listener – like the singer—is ‘feeling the love.’
On ‘Great Day,’ she seems to find renewed meaning in the outwardly biblical lyrics of this classical song. But unlike other artists who have covered ‘Great Day,’ Alexia’s voice feels more earnest, urgent, and insistent than you will have heard before. Several details are key here; the fact that the song opens with no instrumentation for its first 25 seconds is a brave but effective musical decision. Another effective decision is allowing an excellent, fast-paced drum solo midway through the track, which is so energetic it makes you feel like it’s preceding the rapture itself.
By the time the song finishes, you’re breathless. You’re reminded of the power that jazz music can have when it’s in the right hands. Alexia Gardner keeps bringing gifts to her fans.
For more information contact Jazz UK.[Photo above: Alexia Gardner by Mariana Meraz.]