The Juno award-winning Emilie-Claire Barlow is now clearly established as one of our very best jazz vocalists. She has also developed into an ace arranger, and both talents coalesce to stunning effect on Clear Day, the most ambitious offering yet in a prolific discography (it's her 11th album). Her interpretive gifts and pure vocals are displayed in fresh versions of tunes from a wide range of artists (Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Van Morrison to Coldplay, David Bowie and Queen, and Pat Metheny). All the songs were chosen to help tell the chronological story of a recent emotionally turbulent period in her life. Barlow and co-producer Steve Webster recruited Amsterdam's world-renowned 70-piece Metropole Orkest (Elvis Costello) and conductor Jules Buckley to bring some of these songs a gloriously rich orchestral sound. Two of them were arranged by John Metcalfe (Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back). Elite T.O. players and backing singers featured include Reg Schwager, Jon Maharaj, Larnell Lewis, Webster, Chris Donnelly, Kelly Johnson, Melanie Doane and Kathryn Rose. Many of them joined Barlow in a live to air performance at Toronto's JAZZ FM last week that this scribe was lucky enough to attend.
Barlow plays Montreal's Upstairs on Nov. 15, Saskatoon's Broadway Theatre on Nov. 24, Calgary's Jack Singer Hall on Nov. 25, Sherbrooke's Salle Maurice-O'Bready on Dec. 6, Welland on Dec. 12, and the Dec. 18 Holiday Sparkle show with the NAC Orchestra in Ottawa. She will headline her first ever Massey Hall show on Feb. 10, at the start of an eastern tour. Check her site for details.