The new album has been recorded at Peter Gabriels’ Real World Studios with venerable producer Chris Porter at the helm. Special guests include Danny Cummings (drums, Mark Knopfler / Dire Straits), Tony Levin (bass, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), Chris Cameron (piano, George Michael) Simon Lepper and Joe Stilgoe. The four songs on this EP are just a taste of the album to come.
Once again in the company of her band of ace musicians, Liza rediscovers and reimagines timeless classics and lost gems that have no business being lost.
Her funny, intelligent and emotional connection to lyrics and melody goes straight to the heart of every song with a diverse and eclectic range of influences from Fats Waller and Irving Berlin to Michel Legrand, Judy Collins and a host of others.
Billy Joel at his absolute finest, this song completely evokes the yellow taxi cabs, the glittering skyscrapers and the steam rising from the manhole covers. The arrangement, so beautifully orchestrated by Joseph Atkins, is really a duet between myself and the soprano sax. I asked Richard Pardy (sax) to evoke Hill Street Blues, Cagney and Lacey and every other iconic New York TV show from the 80’s that he could think of when he played. He really understood what I meant and I can’t help but smile when I hear it.
In 1983 my mother was asked to audition for a big new American film that was being cast over here in England. The film was Yentl. She met and read with Barbra Streisand for at least half an hour and when she wasn’t offered the part, inspite of being the producer, writer, director and star of the film Ms Streisand still found the time to write a hand-written note to my mother saying what a privilege it had been to meet her and how she hoped their paths would cross again in the future.
In an epic score by Michel Le Grand and with lyrics by Alan and Marylin Bergman, it was a privilege for me to record this tiny, precious gem of a song.
This Neil Diamond song was a turning point for me. I was still studying classical singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama when I went into Chappell of Bond Street looking for a volume of Schubert songs. I came out with a volume of Streisand songs and the rest, I’m afraid, is history! I used to sit at my upright piano in Wood Green and sing this to myself and as life became more and more challenging this song got more and more of a bashing! I’ve only ever really heard it in my head as a solo. It’s always seemed to me to be one person’s heartbreak.
It’s always seemed to me that the world is divided into two kinds of people. Those who weep through the 1970’s film “Love Story” and those who’s world will never quite be the same after watching Streisand and Redford in the 1973 film “The Way We Were. For me, its a no-brainer, and when you add Marvin Hamlisch’s beautiful title song there really is no question.
The Brighouse and Rastrick Band brought so much heart to our arrangements of both The Way We Were and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, and with my mother hailing from Brighouse there was a sense of life coming full circle. Being backed by the ladies and gents of this legendary and award-winning organisation was one of the greatest musical moments of my life.
Obviously, a song my generation totally identifies with the 1990’s film Ghost but as a lover of old movies, I was amazed to discover that it had been written by Alex North, composer of so many of the great movies, Spartacus, Streetcar Named Desire and Cleopatra being just a few. I knew I wanted our version to be as simple and as pure as possible, and so we gave it a flowing 12/8 time signature with a piano accompaniment that never seems to stop; Joe Atkins’ elegant fingers gliding over the keys.
I asked the amazing Tony Levin to put a bass line on it as I wanted that aural space between the high vocal line and the earth-movingly low bass with only the rippling piano between us. Then Chris Porter sprinkled his magic over it and enveloped the whole track with an almost eerie sound. I’d said to him that I wanted to evoke a kind of Eva Cassidy world with this song and he knew exactly what I meant.
I love to find songs that aren’t so well known and there are all sorts of ways of doing of that now that we are blessed with the dark arts of Spotify! I actually came across this track on Facebook as a friend had posted it on her wall, reminiscing about the time she and a girlfriend had been to see Michael Feinstein in concert. I had never heard the song before, and I totally fell in love with its sentiment. It is an absolute joy to sing as you feel completely enveloped by its rich harmonies and its beautiful lyrics. It’s a song that somehow seems to totally bypass the brain and take a direct route to the heart.
For me it all starts with Fats Waller. I was playing his records and destroying his glorious music on the piano from a very early age! I’ve sung this song in so many different ways over the years (usually after a few drinks at a party!) but I wanted to create an arrangement here that captured the utter joy and the sheer life-force of the man.
We had such a ball recording this at Real World studios and i think you can totally hear that in the playing. From the flinger clicking (I kept getting told off for laughing) to Steve walker’s amazing trumpet solo in the middle right through to the boys all jamming on the outro. It just makes me beam so I guess it’s doing its job
My sister and I used to sing together in close harmony when we were children. It’s really where I learnt everything about harmony and shape, and this was one of the songs we used to sing. These songs from the 1920’s are in my DNA and I never cease to be amazed by how timeless they are. I knew I wanted to include the verse which is so often overlooked and has the most remarkably beautiful chord progressions. My pianistic skills are limited to say the least, so I brought in the cavalry in the shape of the extraordinary talent that is Joe Stilgoe.
I sent him a dodgy voice memo with me fiddling around at the piano to give a sense of structure and feel and then we met at RAK studios and had a wonderfully indulgent time playing around until we found our version. Because I myself am a mixed bag of styles and influences, I decided to shake it up a bit and add Tony Levin’s genius to the track once more and the result is every bit as haunting and as heartbreaking as I’d hoped. At 5.23 it runs as the longest track on the EP but I just didn’t have the heart to cut it- I wanted to keep every bit of it for myself.Close