Bruce Lindsay – AllAboutJazz.com 10/11/2012
“When Cairncross sings “Where Or When,” “Our Love Is Here To Stay”- which opens with her delightful unaccompanied alto voice and features one of Newton’s rare but perfectly-judged solos – or “The Nearness Of You” she makes every word count. Her voice, technically excellent and emotionally engaging, gives each lyric a very personal perspective, as if these are her stories, not just her interpretation of others’ tales. It’s the mark of a great jazz vocalist…….
Imagination and creativity can still produce new interpretations that can go straight to the emotional core of the lyric and straight to the audience’s collective heart. Which is exactly what happens when Cairncross and Newton get together on At Last“
Musician Autumn Edition 2012
Here’s a nice review in the Autumn edition of The Musician Magazine which goes out to all Musicians Union members:
Class vocals and piano from a singer of note
A pro singer for over 20 years, Cairncross’s career has seen her work home and abroad. Trained at the Guildhall, her initial work was in opera, however within two years she joined top vocal group The Swingle Singers and toured with them for 10 years. Now respected for her live performances with the likes of Steve Reich and the Monteverdi Choir, she has found time to release this album in the company of award-winning pianist David Newton. Their pairing makes a formidable team. Delivering a range of classics, their interpretations illustrate the timeless quality of The Nearness Of You, I’m Old Fashioned and Remind Me.
A marvellous recording.
Barry Clare – Just Jazz Magazine, May Edition
Thanks to Roger Eatough for bringing this review to my attention!
“When I think of female vocalist/piano duets, I am immediately drawn to the albums made by Ella Fitzgerald and Paul Smith (‘The Intimate Ella’) and Ellis Larkin Larkins (‘Pure Ella’). For me, these were classics of the very highest order. If your style of Ella vocals are of the Mack The Knife type, these albums may not have been your cup of tea. For me, they rank, alongside the Buddy Bregman albums (‘Sings Cole Porter’ and ‘Sings Rogers and Hart’), as her very best work.
That I mention these Ella classics is a clue to what I am about to write about this wonderful new album from Heather Cairncross and David Newton. I must confess I am completely bowled over. I warn you you now that I might even run out of superlatives in trying to convey my complete and utter delight at this album……..
Heather Cairncross was a complete unknown quantity to me before I listened to this CD. I know I should get out more! Of course, David Newton did already rank in my own list of the very best Mainstream pianists. However, as an accompanist, he just exels. I have written before how the art of the accompaniment demands more than the usual skill of ensemble playing or, at least a different skill. The knack is to give as much support to the vocalist without coming between the vocalist and the song. This collaboration is an object lesson in achieving that balance.
David Newton’s fertile mind produces an easy, continuous flow of ideas and musical figures, adding so much to the vocal. And what about those vocals! Heather Cairncross has a superb, crystal-clear approach to the lyric. Every word is given the right emphasis, every phrase it’s due respect. Her diction is as close to perfection as I have ever heard.
Add to all this a choice of songs, which are some of the very best standards ever written, and the recipe just can’t fail. These are classics by Harry Warren, Hoagy Carmichael, Victor Young, Jerome Kern, Vernon Duke, Rodgers and Hart, and the Gershwins, plus two songs with lyrics by Alan and Marylin Bergman – what a selection! Another beautiful (but somewhat neglected) song is the last track, Some Other Time, from Berstein’s On The Town.
I am not overstating it to suggest this recording is absolutely exceptional. No ifs or buts, it is as good as any vocal album I have ever heard for a very long time. Just superb!”
Russell Davies, BBC Radio 2 – 5/02/2012
“We find it hard to keep up with albums from new girl singers and look forward to introducing to the show such talents as the 27 year old Canadian jazz trumpeter & singer Bria Skonberg whose new CD “Fresh” has just arrived. Then our own Heather Cairncross has a fine new CD in company with just pianist Dave Newton (how refreshing!) called ‘At Last’. A beautiful and tranquil outing with 14 classics like ‘Remind Me’ and ‘Where Or When’. Some things to look forward to!
Walter Love- Jazz Club – Radio Ulster 15/04/2012
“Third in this trio of Jazz Ladies is Heather Cairncross. I suppose the simplest form of delivering a song is with the unaccompanied voice but here is the beautiful simplicity of voice and piano. Heather, in the accompanying notes, gives a delightful explanation of how and why the album was made with herself and David Newton, whom she has known and recorded with previously. Just the two of them and the result is a remarkable example of empathy and understanding; and with Andy Cleyndert part of the production team the result is as near as perfect as you’re likely to get. Interesting to see how this recording fares when awards for 2012 come along. This is The Nearness Of You.”
22/3/12 Peter Bevan-Northern Echo
“This first solo album by former Swingle Singer Heather Cairncross contains some of the loveliest singing I’ve heard. Beautifully in tune, clearly enunciated and nicely expressive, she also has the inestimable advantage of piano accompaniment by David Newton at his finest.“