Sarah Moule: Stormy Emotions review – an unerring tribute to Fran Landesman | Jazz

The lyrics here are by Fran Landesman. If you’ve encountered any of hers before, you’ll know that although they’re entirely at home in jazz, and mainly concern love, they can’t be tossed about like any old standard. They’re wary, suspicious, suggesting that the singer has been around the block too many times to fall for the usual line of chat. Occasionally there’s a secretive backward glance to lost innocence, hastily suppressed. That’s a lot of nuance for a composer to take on board and for a singer to convey. Landesman declared that she’d got lucky when she met Simon Wallace, her songwriting partner for 18 years until her death in 2011, and had collected a bonus when he married the singer Sarah Moule.

Listening to these 12 tracks, 10 of them previously unrecorded, you can hear what Landesman meant. Moule catches the shifting moods, touchingly in A Magician’s Confession, candidly in Are We Just Having Fun?, and always unerringly. Wallace’s music catches the spirit of each lyric, brilliantly played by his small band. The prize there goes to Mark Lockheart’s soprano saxophone throughout Close to Tears, moving from dialogue with the voice to solo and back again.

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