|David Fitzpatrick Photo||With the new acoustic album `This and That` firmly under her belt, Lizzy has been recieving more love from reviewers all over the world. Click below for a taste of the talk of the town…
`This and That` album – Released in 2009
Well, she’s more than just a lovely person, she’s got a voice to match. And she’s got the good sense to signed up to Tru-Thoughts and work with the jazz giants Riaan Vosloo and Benedic Lamdin, they of the incredible Nostalgia 77 Sessions with Keith and Julie Tippett that came out last month, see review HERE), so ‘prolific’ is their middle names and in addition to the album `Raise the Roof` this is a bonus edition if you like.
And if you’ve got Shapes 09:01 you’ll know what a great mix that have done on ‘Raise The Roof’. Sadly, that’s not included on This And That as this album concentrates on Ms. Parks in an acoustic setting; of the 9 tracks, five are acoustic versions. And if you know either of those versions of ‘Raise The Roof’, this downtempo string quartet assisted version is the killer defining version (yep, it’s that good!)
And the tone is set by the opener ‘This And That’ that’s not much more than Lizzy and the piano of Riaan Vosloo and ‘Soul Bird’ is a Lizzy only version.
The acoustic ‘Forever And A Day’ is so stripped as it showcases Lizzy’s vocals with acoustic guitar (Max Gilkes) and a glorious flute solo, it makes you want to live, “forever and a day”. Jazzy mixtape material par excellance. And then ‘Time’ and ‘Eyes Of A Child’ reminds me of some of Deborah Jordan’s recent material; GP should have played both these tracks on his ‘Strings, Things and Cinematic Voices’ last week; or if you’re the other side of pond, think Mia Doi Todd with strings – stunning!
There’s two cover versions on the album, ‘A Taste Of Honey’ (as in the 60s film) and showing off her love of jazz (in case you were in any doubt), Wayne Shorter’s ‘Deluge’. Oh yes! Both tracks are so late nite soul-jazz with percussion from Will Fry, Mark Hanslip on sax, Riaan on bass with the added bonus of a string section on ‘A Taste Of Honey’.
The deluge is starting for Lizzy Parks and if you don’t know already, you need the albums by Malatu/Heliocentrics, Stonephace, Nostalgia 77 Sessions, Emanative, Get The Blessing and now, the sublime mellow out of This And That.
If you don’t get this album, I’ll raise the roof – Parks brings us cosmic psychedelic-soul-jazz love from Devon via Birmingham, Brighton and London
— Gerry Hectic
|`Raise the Roof` album – Released in 2008
Laurent Garnier“ A work of art – with its dense, panoramic and majestic soundscape”
Raise The Roof, Lizzy Parks’ debut album on Tru Thoughts, is a euphoric, original and unforgettable introduction to one of the most talented and distinctive singers of the moment. Deftly produced by Ben ‘Nostalgia 77’ Lamdin and with rich, dramatic orchestration from Riaan Vosloo of the acclaimed Nostalgia 77 Octet, ‘Raise The Roof’ embodies Lizzy’s fresh and modern personal twist on the singer-songwriter tradition, encompassing elements of various styles from retro jazz and boogie soul to ambient experimental music.
The expansive, multi-layered groove of the title track – out as a single on 11th August – has won radio play and support from Laurent Garnier, Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 1) and many other DJs and tastemakers including Snowboy and Pete Isaac (Jelly Jazz). The album is built on stunning live musicianship and sumptuous strings combined with a traditional approach to recording, using vintage instruments and microphones, and Lizzy’s amazing voice full and vibrant at the front of the mix. Lizzy’s distinctive style may be familiar to Nostalgia 77 fans as she and Lamdin have worked together several times over the years; notably their first collaboration was “The Hope Suite” which Lizzy co-wrote and sang, and which was nominated for Track of the Year in Gilles Peterson’s BBC Radio 1 Worldwide Awards.
Lizzy explores the full reaches of her beautiful voice with the perfect combination of skill, natural intuition and passion, to conjure up a new and refreshing experience with each song. A ‘60s rhythm and blues vibe kicks in with the second track, “Take Care”, and the languid “Time” takes things in a whole different direction, with an eerie, ever-spinning sense of space that required a different mindset when recording: as Lizzy says, “Where I’d usually be stood belting it out a foot away from the mike, this track needed an intimacy and closeness that came from sitting quietly, eyes closed.” ‘Spring changes’, arguably the ‘jazziest’ tune on the record, has a straightforward jazz structure and rhythm section, horn and voice line up. The rolling, bluesy lyrics talk about getting so stuck in the rat race that you stop noticing the real changes in life. Lizzy’s version of the old R&B song “Seven day fool”, which was famously recorded by Etta James in 1961 and describes the stereotype of a woman who’ll do anything for her man, is followed swiftly by its antidote in the form of “All That”, a super high-speed swing number with the line “I’m all that, and a bag of chips” – from the point of view of a woman who is too good for her man and tells him so. Nostalgia 77’s influence is evident in the groove and horn riffs, and Lizzy pulls off some tongue-twistingly fast phrases with old-school charm and style. “Prayer”, last here but definitely not least, is a virtuoso vocal journey through an orchestral landscape of great proportions, and is the B Side to the digital release of the debut single.
‘Raise The Roof’ marks the first time that Ben Lamdin has produced a solo LP for another artist and this record is set to bring Lizzy Parks’ extraordinary talent into the limelight once and for all. Another rising star who recently featured alongside Lizzy on the latest Nostalgia 77 LP was then-little-known Beth Rowley (Universal) – just before she hit the big time with her top 10 debut album earlier this year.
An engaging and charismatic performer, Lizzy is the live chanteuse for the Nostalgia 77 Octet and has worked with many other great musicians including The Heritage Orchestra (Brownswood) and Chris Bowden (Ninja Tune).
“This 7-inch single is produced by Ben Lamdin, the man behind the incredible ‘Nostalgia 77’, so we’re already off to a great start, and it’s every bit as good as anything he’s ever put his production hand to before.
Lizzy Parks is singing beautifully on this work of art, and it IS a work of art – with it’s dense, panoramic and majestic soundscape. The track is a teaser though: it starts with a long build without the groove and all of a sudden it all kicks in, and I’m thinking, “Great, a potential all-time classic here”, and all of a sudden it drops back down to atmospherics again (the little tease) and all thoughts of it filling floors throughout the left-field world are over. Does it matter? It was intended to be this way and, ok, it’s not a dance track after all but, my goodness, it’s an epic piece of work.
They continue to rub your commercial nose in it on the b-side where it continues on shifting the moods once again in Lamdin’s off-kilter fashion. It’s an unusual choice for a 7 inch release I suppose, but if I’m judging this on musical quality rather than danceability then it’s got to be an almost perfect 9 out of 10!”
One of the most talented and distinctive singers around, Lizzy Parks has delivered a modern jazz album of real soul. Encompassing elements of different styles, from retro jazz and boogie soul to ambient experimental music, she blends the female singer songwriter tradition with influences from the cutting edge of Björk to the soaring jazz melodies of Ella Fitzgerald.
Produced by Nostalgia 77’s Ben Lamdin, with orchestration by the band’s bassist Riaan Vosloo, it does sound like a Nostalgia 77 album – which is no bad thing. And, as with their own work, the tracks are powerful and majestic with great, angular horn-lines swooping through most compositions.
The album kicks off with the insistent bassline and strings of the title track, urging us to “Greet the people you meet with a smile”, “Raise the roof for wide open spaces”.
Other highlights include ‘Spring changes’, arguably the most straightforward jazz tune, with its rhythm section, horn and voice line is about getting so stuck in the rat race that you stop noticing the real changes in life. ‘All That’ – a high-speed swing number involving a woman who’s too good for her man and tells him so – with the line “I’m all that, and a bag of chips.”
The smooth jazz constitution of ‘Ode To St. Cecile’ embraces classic piano rolls while the haunting strings whispering through ‘Leaving Home’ draw out a bluesy ambience.
This is a superb album from an accomplished singer – ably supported by some sumptuous backing. (Miles Taylor)
The Jelly Jazz Record Review of `Raise the Roof`single
“Tru Thoughts swell their roster with a wonderful signing in the shape of Lizzy Parks. Already working with the likes of Nostalgia 77 and The Heritage Orchestra (Ninja Tune), her natural and rich vocal talent will be familar. It’s one of those voices that signal inner beauty and unbridled musical passion, there’s no doubt that this lady has that elusive ‘it’. This sultry peice of jazz/soul (produced by Nostlagia 77) is portentous of an LP of something really special, and I can’t wait to hear that.”
Blues & Soul Music Magazine Review
“I stumbled across Lizzy Parks quite by accident (that’s the great thing about festivals) and I decided to check out her unplugged, impromptu performance she was giving outside a tent in the main stage area, with just a small PA and a lone guitarist. You have to hand it to her conditions weren’t exactly ideal. So full marks for bringing the music to the people, proving this girl has got guts and the desire to succeed!
Her single ‘raised the roof’ (check review section) was given a new added dimension by her guitar whiz kid sideman,Tom Robins, his trusty ovation and spidery chords brought the true cleverness and intricacies of the material a new depth, streamlined and taut. Any worthy song should sound good stripped down and Lizzy’s songs really prove this theory.
Lizzy has an innate beauty that permeates everything she touches. This enchanting songstress has put together a beguiling collection and her jazz sensibilities are faultless! Rather than a muddy field (although she still looked fetching in green wellies!) I’d like to see her at places like Ronnie Scotts (are you reading this James Pearson!)
This songbird has produced a startling effort with her debut album and I feel very privileged to have caught her just starting out with what I think will bean amazing journey for her. One to watch closely!”
`Watching Space`album – Released in 2005
See Translation Below…
When I first listened to Lizzy Parks, I immediately located this author is the new generation “baby jazz vocal”, they are young, they are beautiful, they mix all types of music arrangements jazzy and targeting more than one voice sending the mash (and they do not all incidentally), they focus on emotions, on the appearance or cozy living jazz. Within this new jazz scene, I must admit that it was the North Americans and Nordics who share the cake but the situation has now changed. My lack of culture makes me think (maybe wrongly you may say) that England is not exactly a bastion recognized vocal jazz. The only artist I know is Claire Martin and without denigrating her talent as an artist, I find her music very boring. Unfortunately I am insensible to the high caliber of this lady of jazz.
But then, I just found Lizzy Parks, an English girl who made the conservatory jazz section with voice which is more amenable to pop than jazz and yet the soft mystery of her voice has a graceful sense of swing, sensitivity, responsiveness and adaptability which are undoubtedly qualities or stored in the register of jazz. Lizzy Parks appears as a new sensation (durable) on the English stage vocal jazz that would be a shame to miss.
Her debut album Watching Space I bought for a pittance on ebay UK was released in 2005 on a small independent label The Birds Recording Company, which proves both that Lizzy is not here to amass fortunes and secondly that artistic freedom should be more respected, which is pretty good for this kind of vocal jazz decried by purists (who are just stuck in my mind). As part of the presentation of this album she is accompanied by a full band: Rob Norman on piano, Mike Adlington on trumpet, Ryan Trebilcock on bass, Alan Gardiner to perscussions and Pete Harris on guitar.
Same Old starts so soft and warm the opus, the type of cut to warm the atmosphere, in short, that puts a good mood. Moral Of The Story is a bluesy interlude that highlights her charismatic voice. Bolder is Pass Me By, a piece that would not have reneged on a Martina Topley-Bird appeased. Sailing between jazz, soul and trip hop song that is delicious to (re) listen. A pearl that is gentle arrangements of simple elegance. In melancholic beauty Watching Space relies heavily on the beautiful string arrangements and the sweetness of the voice Lizzy is here magnified. Sublime, listen emergency. The beautiful complexity of arrangements and melody of For Real will delight you for sure. This delightful and surprising. Change Is Made more would categorize under the label a little free jazz chillout. Advocating a certain Coolitude this piece is sublime listening, a highlight of the album.
Last Night At The Theater offers a cozy but melancholy that invites emotion and it works. Just close your eyes and let the music take over the ears. Gorgeous. Roll Back highlights the sense of groove Lizzy a rhythm nice and pleasant. Ambitious Whats the song ‘The Deal has a jazzy / soul / funky most delectable. One of my favorite songs, I invite you to listen. Joga is resumed Björk. Minimalist arrangements that take effect on a few scattered and style piano and vocals just perfect magical moment. Certainly, I remember the original but this version is to discover immediately. Star is one of the great moments that punctuate the album: enchanting, sensual, a touch of retro and always this beautiful voice for this piece lounge heady. But what would a jazz album without feeling a resumption of a standard worthy of the name? This version of You’ve Changed, magnified by legend Billie Holiday, another hit, in fact, Lizzy brings his own gentleness and sensitivity on this (re) interpretation as the only acoustic accompaniment of a harp. Fantastic.
A more than promising start that is well worth the detour, with relatively few resources and publicity this album has convinced the British critics and highlighted this young singer with a certain charisma.
A full CD of the breathtaking instrumentals from this album is available on request. For more information, or to interview Lizzy Parks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44(0)1273 694617