It’s always a good day when I discover a new singer, and I recently found one. Her name is Emma Nabarro-Steel, and information on the internet about her is kind of scarce. This is all I have got about her.
Jazz vocalist Emma Nabarro-Steel has spent almost a decade performing and recording jazz standards with many of the UK’s finest jazz musicians. An improvising vocalist and instrumentalist, she has been described as a “a jazz singing natural” and “a fresh jazz singer who floats a song lyric without losing her grip on it” (Manchester evening news). Born in Nottingham, UK, and now based in Leeds, BBC Radio 4 bestowed on her the proud title of “Yorkshire’s Ella Fitzgerald” after a 2006 performance on Woman’s Hour.
Maybe I love her more because she is British, as I love all things Anglo, but really in this, her 2006 album, what I hear is a fresh-sounding singer with great flair and also a keen sense of lyric interpretation. She weaves her way into various chestnuts – ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well,’ ‘I Fall In Love Too Easily,’ ‘Just Squeeze Me,’ and I swear it feels like I am hearing those songs for the first time. She sings ‘My Funny Valentine’ softly, as if a prayer, and it gives the song more tenderness. I wish I had some more information, like who did the splendid arrangements, for example. I don’t even know if this album is easy to find, but I assure you it is worth hunting.