INGRID JAMES, an award-winning Queensland jazz singer, is releasing her 5th CD "TRAJECTOIRE" through Newmarket Music. This is a collaboration of originals with French jazz pianist/composer ALEXIS TCHOLAKIAN. Ingrid and Alexis appeared at Jazz venues in Paris before deciding to collaborate on "Trajectoire". All the songs are originals with compositions by Alexis, and lyrics by Ingrid, with the exception of the opening track "A Timeless Place (The Peacocks)".
"I've waited a long time to be involved in an originals project like this, so it is dear to my heart. When I heard Alexis' melodies, I knew I had to write lyrics and sing his melodies".
"This album is the result of an encounter – a beautiful one, both human and musical, which has spawned a harmonious collaboration with the Australian singer and author: Ingrid James. I am very happy and grateful that Ingrid was able to capture, as no-one has so far, the essence of my thinking, by writing and phrasing it so admirably, as well as singing it so perfectly".
"Most musicians begin their musical journey within their own community - this is where they receive the support and encouragement they need to develop and hone their skills. As time progresses they play further afield and interact with an increasingly wider circle of musicians and this can often take them away from home - a necessary migration in order to gain a broader perspective on the music they make.
A few of these artists, a very few, spread out beyond their homeland and begin to take part in the global experience of making music... Ingrid James is one of these. A restless spirit, Ingrid ventures far beyond Australian shores to Europe and the U.S. to record with an impressive array of international musicians - and yet, most importantly, she never forgets where she's from. She manages to balance this strong global instinct with a massive commitment to making music in her own community...a rare thing indeed.
This album is a truly international undertaking - a global collaboration! Wonderful melodies conceived and arranged by pianist Alexis Tcholakian, resident in Paris, have been blessed with the lyrics of the Brisbane based jazz singer, Ingrid James. Effectively these 'songs without words' have been given a second life, a fresh narrative, and the remarkable result of this sensitive collaboration is here for us all to listen to.
Ably supported by an international ensemble who all weave their own threads into the unfolding stories, Alexis and Ingrid guide us through a rich and compelling collection of vignettes. Beginning with A Timeless Place (the great Norma Winstone lyric to The Peacocks by Jimmy Rowles), we are steered through an extraordinary range of emotions - songs of love, loss and longing, with brief detours into the hip American jazz-life - finally to be brought back safely at the close with a beautiful original ballad 'It's Not Over'.
Well I can only hope that 'it's NOT over' - and that this is just the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration. Sit back - and enjoy the sound of la TRAJECTOIRE."
Pete Churchill, Professor of Jazz Composition, Royal Academy of Music, London; composer/educator/choral director/conductor for Kenny Wheeler Big Band and Abdullah Ibrahim's Vocal Project.
"The only place on Earth where jazz exists is The United States. It sometimes feels like that. Especially if you check the (North) American and international jazz press. How many U.S. fans are aware of our great artists such as David Ades, Julien Wilson, Mike Nock or Bernie McGann? And how many are aware of Japanese, Swedish or French jazz? There is some great stuff to be heard from all over the world; a friend recently put me onto an organ trio from Greece that was a knockout!
Australian jazz singer Ingrid James' recent release - Trajectoire - just might convince a few more that there is some good music to be had beyond West 44th Street (or 505 or Bennett's Lane). Made with a mix of Australian, French, Danish and U.S. players, it is a revelation. James is here paired with the Alexis Tcholakian Trio from France. In fact the album grew out of pianist Tcholakian's request that she pen lyrics for a number of his compositions. Direct, and with just the right mix of experience, urbanity and poetry, her lyrics work so well it is hard to believe often that they didn't come first, before the melodies.
Another nice balance across Trajectoire is that James has found the right point between the hip and the sweet. Too many recent jazz vocal albums seem to take the tame path, assumedly in the hope of wider audience - maybe on the fringe of Pop. This collection of songs retains some true grit and jazz light and shade, yet steers clear of the miasmic mists that afflict the jazz vocal recordings at the other end of the spectrum. There is a strong feeling of tradition - but respect for that tradition rather than either a dry clinging to it, or a sickly sugaring of it.
This balance is exemplified by the opening by the opening mission statement, a reading of Jimmy Rowles 'A Timeless Place (The Peacocks)' (lyric by Norma Winstone). James navigates this tricky winding melody with superbly simpatico piano from Tcholakian and his trio.
The arrangement is smartly considered, with the piano mirroring in unison some sections of the vocal. This device is used to great effect on many tracks, markedly on the two vocal solos written by Louise Denson - the first, a duet with Danish tenor sax player Simon Spang-Hanssen on the Hammond-driven 'Blue Confluence'; the second on the Bill Evans-ish waltz of 'Night Reflection'.
The latter duet is with Australia's Miroslav Bukovsky whose flugelhorn's round golden tone sounds uncannily like a human voice itself.
The snaky melody, latin groove and Marian bitran's flute of the title track, 'Trajectoire' recalls Chick Corea's 70's work with Fora Purim. The album pulls from many styles of jazz - 'Midsummer Flower's samba, the Rhodes-driven fusion of 'Circle of Love' the languid ballad of the album closer 'It's Not Over' - but there is a unity that hold it all together, a major factor being James' warm and honeyed voice - like Dianne Reeves, a voice born for jazz.
Trajectoire is satisfying on all levels. I look forward to more from Ingrid James and Alexis Tcholakian. John Hardaker, Words about Music, 12/3/16
"Not one to shy away from a challenge, Ingrid James takes her writing and singing to another level, but it's her near perfect phrasing on Jimmy Rowles The Peacocks that's worth the price of this album alone. Rarely have Norma Winstone's lyrics sounded so good..." Peter Wockner, Jazz and Beyond
From "playful" and "memorable waltzes", "warm ballads" to "funky" and "early Brazilian fusion a la Flora Purim and Chick Corea", "the international cast performs music that, while tied to jazz's roots, is modern and contemporary. [Ingrid's] stories cover such topics as different ways of looking at love, friendships, relationships, loss, learning from mistakes, and life in general. One of the top jazz singers from Australia, Ingrid James has a beautiful voice, a wide range, and the ability to sing difficult intervals with ease, hitting every note perfectly in-tune. She is also an original improviser, always swings, and is skilled at embracing lyrics that she believes in."
Scott Yanow, Author of The Jazz Singers, The Great Jazz Guitarists, Jazz on Film and Jazz on Record 1917-76.
"Australian vocalist and lyricist Ingrid James has collaborated with French pianist Alexis Tcholakian's trio for her fifth album,Trajectoire. The collaboration works well, creating a sophisticated collection of songs with depth and beauty.
Tcholakian's trio—bassist Simon Teboul and drummer Thierry Tardieu—is augmented by additional musicians from time to time. Flute, guitar, flugelhorn and saxophone all add color and tonal variation to the songs, effective contributions in every case.
James' slow, dreamlike, take on Jimmy Rowles and Norma Winstone's "A Timeless Place" is the opening track: all the others are original James/Tcholakian compositions. The singer's intimate performance is immediately engaging but the song is almost over-familiar—it's the new numbers that hold the most promise, a collection that, while built on the tradition of jazz and the American Songbook, take that tradition just a little bit away from its usual comfort zone.
Mariane Bitran's flute adds a featherlight beauty to "Trajectoire," complementing James as she sings the melancholy tale. "A Page Has Turned" is another melancholy story, this time with Tcholakian and saxophonist Simon Spang-Hanssen adding emotive solos. "Night Reflection" is lighter, thanks to a gentle swing accompaniment and James' singing and wordless vocal chorus. So, too, is the faster "Midsummer Flower," another number to benefit from Bitran's contribution. "Circle Of Love" is probably the most upbeat of the songs, although it's more pop-soul than jazz.
The voice/piano duet that opens "It's Not Over" is one of the album's most evocative moments -Teboul and Tardieu enhance the mood when they make their appearance. The romantic "An Angel Touched Me" is probably the finest example of the James/Tcholakian songwriting partnership, another gently swinging number with a lyric that tells of enduring love.
Trajectoire gets a physical release in Australia, a digital release for the rest of the world. The digital version, which this review is based on, sounds crisp and clear, presenting James' beautiful voice to excellent effect."
Bruce Lindsay, AAJ (All About Jazz) Feb 2016 - 4 stars
"Trajectoire is easily one of my favorite new records. Ingrid James is the kind of musician that immediately draws you in. Her vocal tone is total ear candy; warm, round, and focussed and her music is deep and informed by a great many influences. The performances and attention to composition and arranging on each of the 11 tracks are universally great and globally of the highest quality. But there is another thing here that makes every single track jump out and demand your complete and total attention; as opposed to other records that boast a world-class vocalist backed by stellar instrumentalists, Trajectoire is a fully integrated musical universe featuring vocal lines that thoughtfully intertwine, playfully double, and spontaneously flirt with the other instruments. The ratio of vocal passages to instrumental flights is perfect. And nowhere on the entirety of this album does any one element outweigh any other, it is beautifully balanced and produced.
This listener is thoroughly impressed, but more importantly, in love."
Nick Mancini, US Vibraphonist/Composer
"Trajectoire" was recorded in France and Australia by the following artists: