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! Musicâs new jazz imprint Do Jazz! (the exclamation point is theirs, but weâre 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 intimateâmore 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 âFour,â Shepherdâs own lyrics set to the Clifford Brown standard âGeorgeâs 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 soulâor at least warm it on a wintery Sunday afternoon. Order it from Dusty Groove or download from iTunes.
by DJ Scribe