Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Media, 2019


by Ian Mann

June 30, 2006


Youthful enthusiasm with a breezy charm.

Young jazz singer Tom Rust is attempting to make his name in what is rapidly becoming an overcrowded field. On the evidence of this recording he deserves to do well. For this album he covers seven jazz standards and a couple of soul numbers. Nothing new there then - but he does so with a youthful enthusiasm and a genuine love for the songs he tackles.

His young band led by pianist Malcolm Edmondson offer enthusiastic, swinging support. Drummer Ben Reynolds is a versatile player - I last encountered him giving his kit a fearful hammering at Cheltenham Jazz Festival as a member of electro-jazz terrorists Fraud. He’s a little more restrained here but with bassist Julian Jackson he drives the music along with swing and panache. Edmondson is a swinging, percussive pianist and a fine arranger and the trio make a substantial contribution to the album’s success.

Although Rust is clearly enjoying himself immensely there is still a “lived in” element to his voice which keeps his singing interesting. His jazz phrasing is good but he is also convincing on the two soul numbers Stevie Wonder’s “I Can’t Help It” and Rod Temperton’s “Give Me The Night”. The jazz standards are a little over familiar but Rust makes a fair job of them even including some enjoyable scatting, a style which can be grossly irritating in the wrong hands.

“The Nearness Of You” is a good example of Rust applying his soul sensibilities to a jazz ballad and works very well. “Sunny Side Of The Street” and “Almost Like Being In Love” are joyous romps with Edmondson’s dancing fingers lighting up the latter. In contrast “In The Wee Small Hours” sounds convincingly desolate showing the range of both singer and instrumentalists.

There may be nothing new here but nevertheless this is an enjoyable album executed with a breezy charm.

At thirty-one minutes it may be a little brief but each track is succinct and well arranged, and it is possible Rust was trying to evoke something of the spirit of the old “three minute” 78 r.p.m. days. The “live in the studio” approach suggests that may be the case. Certainly no song is allowed to meander or outstay its welcome. There is definite potential here for both jazz and crossover success.

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