ALBUM REVIEW: Van Morrison – Versatile | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Caroline International

Released: 01.12.17








Maybe only Charlie Parker, Miles Davis or Paul Simon can top Van Morrison’s feel for the percussive qualities of vocal syllabics – the backbeat plosives, the tapping of metrical feet, phrases playing about in phrases. On his 38th(!) record, as ever, his singing is folkish, laddish, but absolutely refined. Like someone somehow playing a symphony on a homemade tambourine.

Instrumentally, Versatile is luscious, sashaying, tight. Van’s arrangement of the traditional Scottish-waltz Skye Boat Song is a sublime, emotive parliament of jazz clarinet, trumpet and piano. Classics by Cole Porter and the Gershwins are treated lovingly and luxuriantly, whilst new original songs like Broken Record and Take It Easy Baby often slip into that special kind of lounge-bar-groove you wish would keep jamming through the night until forever.

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