Beady Belle - "On my own" September 2016
Beady Belle (Beate S. Lech) returns with her new album – the appropriately titled "On My Own" – on Jazzland Recordings.
Recorded at Eastside Sound Studio in New York City, the album features a strong – but not overpowering – undercurrent of 70s soul and vocal jazz, mixtures of intimacy and exuberance, and pulsations both urban and urbane. The musicians include Bugge Wessletoft (who is also the album's producer) on keys, Gregory Hutchinson on drums, Reuben Rogers on bass and Joshua Redman on saxophone. While primarily an album of superb songs highlighting Beady's honey-smooth-yet-gutsy voice, the musicians are given plenty of room to shine, with high-end solos and great chops on display throughout. Beady's compositional and lyrical skills are also showcased here as never before, offering us further dimensions only hinted at on previous releases. Melodically gripping, harmonically intricate, lyrically intelligent (without pretentiousness), and underpinned by solid grooves, the songs mine rich seams to bring many treasures for fans and newcomers alike. Whether warm and easy-going like a smoky late evening bar, or bright and sunny (with your iced coffee of choice), the album moves through a huge variety of moods, hues and colors, tones and shades.
Further backline support comes from Mathias Eick, whose dark side of the mood trumpet lines weave gracefully with Beady Belle's vocals, while Audun Sandvik's cello on "Almost" adds a unique resonance that lends the song a cinematic quality. Torun Eriksen and Anja Martine Mørk accompany on backing vocals with a high level of perfection, sounding as one. The album's guitar chops are provided by Fran Cathcart, and round out the diverse palette that constitutes a jewel in the Beady Belle crown.
However, the true glint of that jewel is, as always, the stunning voice of Beady Belle herself, plaintive, seductive, exuberant, moody, evocative and unique. With each new release, Beady Belle's voice has become richer, more capable, and laced with nuance and subtle expressiveness. Simply put, there is no-one else like her.
Music and lyrics by Beady Belle
Produced by Bugge Wesseltoft
Lead vocal: Beady Belle
Grand piano and Fender Rhodes: Bugge Wesseltoft
Drums: Gregory Hutchinson
Acoustic bass: Reuben Rogers
Saxophone: Joshua Redman
Background vocals: Torun Eriksen, Anja Martine Mørk and Beady Belle
Trumpet: Mathias Eick
Cello: Audun Sandvik
Guitar: Fran Cathcart
Percussion: Bugge Wesseltoft
Recorded by Fran Cathcart at Eastside Sound Studio (New York City), Buggesroom (Oslo) and at Beady Belle's studio (Oslo)
Joshua Redman saxophone recorded by Jeff Cressman at Cressman Music Studios (San Fransisco) Mixed by Fran Cathcart at Buggesroom (Oslo) Mastered by Alex Saltz at APS
Mastering Edits and additional recordings by Bugge Wesseltoft at Buggesroom
Instrumental arrangements by Bugge Wesseltoft
Vocal arrangements by Beady Belle
REVIEWS AND QUOTATION
(...)Beady Belle made a favourable impression with the critics (this one included) on the strength of 2001's debut "Home". (...) this new album isn't as immediate, but it does reward the listeners tenfold with repeated listening.(...)"Big balloon"(...) is breathtakingly beautiful.(...)Lech's fluid, expressive voice and intelligent, almost poetic lyrics are superbly complemented by Reksjo's adroit and imaginative arrangements. (...)"Cewbeagappic" is a real gem and represents a quantum leap forward for Beady belle.
(Blues and soul magasin, UK, May 2003)
"(...) Good voice, good pop licks, great bottomy bass lines - should be played in the trendiest bars in town"
(Northern echo, London 2001)
"(...) This magnificent Norwegian offering deserves to be descovered big-time by fans of 4-Hero, Brand New Heavies etc (...) Musically wide but well put together.(...) Discover!"
(DJ, London May 19th 2001)
"(...) Home, a cool, slick and instantly appealing blend of jazz and soul blend, which also draws on drum & bass, r&b, and techno to fuel a scintillating album. (...) an album which all too sadly will probably not get the attention it deserves"
(Observer, London April 5th 2001)
"(...) 'Home' benefits from some of the best standards of production that nu-jazz has to offer."
(Capital Live, London March 9th 2001)
"The shiny-eyed female on the album sleeve, and the protagonists' Norwegian nationality suggest another loopy, frosted Scandinavian diva. Inside, though, there's a continental shift in another direction: the sultry, bittersweetness of Germany's Billie Ray Martin, and dance's smoothest influences (jazz-funk, drum'n'bass, garage, ambient). (...) despite Lech's suave, white-soul touch (...) a reliefe from the relentlessly sassy persona of Stateside divahood. (...) Ironically, if Carey herself released 'Lose and Win' it would be a certainty for a US Number 1 Hit"
(Q, London 2001)
"The Underground Sound of Oslo really is the new hip. Slinky, sexy and modern, it's groovetastic jazz that takes in the old and the new, drum'n'bass and ambient dance and proper jazz (...) Beady Belle (...) is delicious nu-jazz, sophisticated and chic."
(D Express, London March 31st 2001)
"(...) Beady Belle has hardly been out of my CD player since I acquired it (...) this Oslo based duo has alchemised the disparate elements of pop, acid jazz, soul, dance and new age music into a unique, ineffable whole. The end result is a intoxicating concoction of grooves and moods that moves both the body and mind. The focal point of the duo's music is the sinuous, expressive vocals of Beate Lech, who as well as posessing a gift for contriving infectious melodies and memorable hook lines, writes enigmatic lyrics that verge on the poetical with their use of oblique metaphors and disturbing imagery. (...) Reksjø invents some wonderfully fluid rhythm tracks bolstered by sinewy bass lines and unusual instrumentation. (...) Highly addictive and strongly recomanded."
(Blues & Soul, London 2001)
"Beady Belle is (...) a brilliant beauty. (...) Beady Belle is painfully good. (...) Beate S. Lech has not only gives us beautiful vocals and lovely harmonies, but (...) also subtle lyrics. (...) The 27-year-old has definitely not wasted the talent that the music milieu has remarked for a long time. (...) Scholar and clever, but still unpolished and rough. (...) The arrangements are surprising, the rhythms are elegant and gentle, but still modern and infectious."
(Dagens Næringsliv, Norway February 3rd 2001)
"Bugge Wesseltoft, (...) and Beate Lech are among the Norwegian musicians that in (...) the newspaper Libération are given the honour of making Oslo a musical capital like London and Paris. (...) Beady Belle (...) an unexpected mixture of Björk and Sade." (Aftenposten, Norway December 29th 2000)