The National Jazz Trio of Scotland – Standards Vol. III
On their third volume of Standards, Bill Wells’ mischievously christened National Jazz Trio of Scotland (actually a quartet, completed by vocalists Aby Vulliamy, Kate Sugden and Lorna Gilfedder) sound more gracefully minimalist than ever. Deploying only the most sparing and precise of musical accompaniments, melodies are built around the soft, sylphic tones of its vocal trio, pitched one notch above a whisper throughout.
A balmy atmosphere is established by opener Alive and Well, with lyrical references to summer heat underpinned by ersatz cricket song and shimmering instrumentation. This mirage-like delicacy is maintained across the remainder of the album, with the twinkling music box air of Unguarded Moment and the glockenspiel-led bossa nova of Surprising Word among its many gentle pleasures. The only reservation to be had is a minor sense of over-familiarity, with the Trio’s milieu undergoing only the slightest of changes between volumes. But otherwise, these finespun creations are altogether enchanting.