Friday July 4, 2003
All Sarah Jane Morris's music is about love and pain, really - she might just as well have given this disc an episode number for a title. But her free spirit, powerful original material and nearly abstract soul intonation always contain surprises.
If this is rarely outright jazz, it is touched by the idiom's timing and spontaneous fluidity. And there is the occasional intervention from a jazz angle - in this case, a visit from Annie Whitehead's majestic trombone.
This is a beautifully assembled piece of work. It keeps a contemporary, DJ-culture edge without ever cutting out Morris's soul and R&B roots. A jazzy soul-sax arrangement gleams under the singer's lighter side on Nothing Comes from Nothing, and the acoustic simplicity of Mad Woman Blues is subtly enriched by an understated Hammond organ and equally spare electronics. The closing valediction, Field of Wheat,
is one of her most haunting pieces of disclosed intimacy.
Probably Morris's best ever album, and it may be a great one.