Standards Vol. II

KK 074CD KK 074CD

Following the release of The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland's Christmas Album on Karaoke Kalk, the Berlin label now presents the second album by acclaimed pianist Bill Wells' latest project The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland; Standards Vol. II. While the previous record focused on seasonal classics, Standards Vol. II is comprised almost exclusively of Bill Wells' original compositions. Just for the record, The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland don't play jazz, nor are they a trio. And while their status as national ambassadors is not exactly official, Bill Wells has, however, worked with many of the key players in the Scottish indie scene from the likes of Isobel Campbell and Future Pilot AKA to the magnificent collaboration with former Arab Strap vocalist Aidan Moffat on Everything's Getting Older on Chemikal Underground. Indeed, a host of Glasgow's finest have contributed to the new NJTOS album with Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub responsible for additional studio work and lending his voice to "Winter Breaks and Back to Spring." Belle & Sebastian's Chris Geddes and Stevie Jackson also helped with the recording. Yet despite these impressive rock solid credentials and all the big names with whom Wells works, what sets the National Jazz Trio Of Scotland apart is the vocal performances by Lorna Gilfedder, Aby Vulliamy, and Kate Sugden. While these girls may not be professional singers their voices posses an honest quality which fits Well's compositions to a tee. The sparse arrangements are understated yet outspoken while the lyrics tell of everyday moments, walking a fine emotional line between melancholy and optimism. The majority of the songs on Standards Vol. II are written and composed entirely by Bill Wells, and there are two covers including a version of the traditional Scottish folk song "Mary of Argyle" and a delightful cover of the Moondog tune "My Tiny Butterfly" with Gilfedder, Vulliamy and Sugden singing in a round to great effect. Already his fifth album on Karaoke Kalk, and including previous collaborations with Stefan Schneider aka Mapstation (the bassist from To Rococo Rot), Barbara Morgenstern, and the Japanese improvised free-jazz ensemble Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Standards Vol. II marks another milestone release for the Glaswegian musician.