Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
1:35 PM 22nd January 2022

Jazz / Classical Music Album: Rocking Horse Road Jacqui Dankworth, Brodsky Quartet

Jazz / Classical Music Album: Rocking Horse Road
4 Stars

Jacqui Dankworth
Brodsky Quartet: Krysia Osostowicz - violin; Ian Belton - violin; Paul Cassidy - viola; Jacqueline Thomas - cello.

Rocking Horse Road; Speak Low; Please Answer; The Sally Gardens; Play Dead; Narcisso; Narrow Daylight; Patience; Go Lovely Rose; The Triple Foole. Shall I compare Thee to a Summer’s Day; Close to You; Time Takes Its Time; Reach Out for the light; Sittin’ on Top of the World; Like Someone in Love; Fragile
Chandos CHAN 20219
Release date: 28th January 2022

What a wonderful surprise! Rocking Horse Road is the inspired debut, imaginative collaboration between Jacqui Dankworth and the Brodsky Quartet, that fuses chamber music and jazz and works superbly well.

The Quartet provide a perfect string accompaniment for Dankworth’s mellow and seductive voice. All the effects and shades: heavy to light, individual voices, and string techniques, really bring out the poignancy of certain songs like Fragile the Sting classic.

The tensions, beauty, and sense of the dramatic are captured in these sounds and the intensity felt throughout on this fabulous disc. Whether it is the evocative opening for Play Dead by Björk arranged my Jacqueline Thomas, to the pizzicato in the introduction to Close to you or the lilting beauty of the Bach Cello Suite in Like Someone in love, one thing is for certain, it is heavenly and efficacious.

The Brodsky’s have championed collaborating with iconic artists in its fifty-year history. There was a co-written song cycle with Elvis Costello and a host of arrangements to perform with Björk, Sir Paul McCartney and Sting. Jacqui’s father, Sir John Dankworth, made several new arrangements for this recording and Paul Cassidy (viola) and Jacqueline Thomas (cello) also added their delicious contributions.

In approaching the rehearsals and performance the chamber musicians, placed themselves in a semi-circle, taking Jacqui into the heart of the ensemble. The benefit of this approach can be felt throughout this recording as the Brodsky’s form a perfect cushion of accompaniment. The way the Quartet work together, and as individual soloists, interweaving between each other and Dankworth, crafting each musical line, adds substance and depth creating a realistic ambience.

The miscellany of arrangements offers an appealing diversity that will appeal across different genres. Each track displays its individual characteristics through a richness of tone from all musicians whose skill of identifying the distinctive quality, sublimity, panache, and control, coupled with the vocal techniques from Dankworth, means they all contribute to the energy, making this a truly atmospheric disc.