For the daughter of two Salvation Army ministers, Elizabeth Shepherd must have had first dibs on the dusty jazz records dropped in the thrift store donation box. At least that might explain her soulful musical approach, rooted in the classics yet thoroughly modern. The young pianist/chanteuse, and her Toronto trio, step boldly into the continuum with their mature debut release, Start To Move, out now on the Canadian indie Do Right! Musicâ€™s new jazz imprint Do Jazz! (the exclamation point is theirs, but weâ€™re excited too).
Start To Move is an unusual mixture for a jazz trio (although they resist pigeonholing) of instrumental and vocal tunes. The compositions are mostly original and refreshingly intimateâ€”more in the singer-songwriter than dinner for two sense. There are also a few covers, including the gymnastic Jon Hendricksâ€™ lyrical adaption of Miles Davisâ€™ â€œFour,â€ Shepherdâ€™s own lyrics set to the Clifford Brown standard â€œGeorgeâ€™s Dilemmaâ€ (arranged for vocals, bass and beatbox) and a surprisingly un-silly take on the theme from The Price Is Right, which functions as the "closing credits" (her thank-yous) to the album.
Most importantly, the tunes are well-written, memorable, accessible without being pop and may even save your soulâ€”or at least warm it on a wintery Sunday afternoon. Order it from Dusty Groove or download from iTunes.
by DJ Scribe