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Jazz - Released September 22, 2008 | Tru Thoughts


Soul - Released June 22, 2009 | Tru Thoughts

Until 2008, British vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Lizzy Parks had been gigging on records since she performed with Chris Bowden on his groundbreaking Slightly Askew album back in 2001. Until last year she was known primarily for her guest work with Ben Lamdin on the Nostalgia 77 and Nostalgia 77 Octet groupings, and with his help she released the stellar Raise the Roof on Tru Thoughts (not her debut but a breakthrough nonetheless); an in-your-face set of jazzed-up dance, funk, and nu-soul offerings with scant touches of post-modern rockism tossed in for good measure. 2009's follow-up, This and That, is a different kind of offering altogether. The vibe here is far more acoustic in nature, stressing her songwriting talents more. All tracks were written with Lamdin and Riaan Vosloo (also of Nostalgia 77). The arrangements include strings and horns, but mostly feature a core band of guitar, double bass, piano, hand percussion, and flute with a single saxophone. Parks' jazz roots comes out more on this set because of its stripped arrangements. She comes off as an excellent ballad singer, as evidenced on "Deluge," with its hand drums and saxophone, and recalls a Beat Generation hipness but is thoroughly in the moment -- check her twinned, near scatting with the saxophone in the latter half of the tune. Other standouts include an acoustic version of "Raise the Roof," with a fine string arrangement by Vosloo. The restrained yet shimmering delivery of the lyrics turns the song inside out and even alters its meaning. The album's lone cover is a reading of Bobby Scott's "A Taste of Honey," and rather than the fingerpopping, scattershot, uptempo song we've been accustomed to hearing since Herb Alpert and the Beatles in the '60s, Parks turns in a folk-pop version that is as elegant as fine chamber music and uncovers the root of the song in the traditional ballad "Greensleeves." Simply put, this set is a pure joy in its elegant, graceful presentation and reveals that Parks' gift for both creating and interpreting songs in rich new ways is vast, and the well of her inspiration is very deep indeed. Anyone interested in the jazzier side of songwriting and singing without the saccharine or cheap sentiment provided by countless others should check out This and That. ~ Thom Jurek

R&B - Released August 11, 2008 | Tru Thoughts

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Soul - Released August 11, 2008 | Tru Thoughts

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Soul - Released September 22, 2008 | Tru Thoughts