After a long hiatus from the recording world, Australian jazz fans can now revel in the new original album Mandarin Skyline from leading contemporary jazz vocalist Leigh Carriage.
Leigh recorded the album in early 2012 (her first album of original songs), alongside 'Get Out of Town' (an album of covers and standards recorded on a second day in the studio with the same core ʻfamilyʼ of musicians).
Mandarin Skyline features Hamish Stuart (drums), Steve Russell (piano), Matt Smith (guitar) as well as Matt McMahon (piano), Sam Keevers (piano), Phil Slater (trumpet) and Jonathan Zwartz (bass). It was mixed and mastered by legendary US based producer/engineer Helik Hadar (Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones).
“It was time to make this album,” says Leigh of Mandarin Skyline “I had a near fatal accident in 2005 and I just had to wait for my body to heal enough, so that it was no longer making more noise than the musical ideas coming in.”
“I gave myself a deadline of 6 weeks (the only gap in my full-time teaching schedule as Head of Vocal Studies at Southern Cross University) to write and collaborate, create an albumʼs worth of music, arrange, score and make demos. Itʼs linked to my PhD study in composition at Sydney Uni as well. I wanted to work with musicians who could create an environment around my music, where each one adds something deeply of themselves.”
With roots in jazz and groove, Mandarin Skylineʼs beautifully crafted songs are full of passion and an easy finesse that are the perfect vehicle for Leighʼs clear, soulful voice.
“Fans of Joni Mitchell will want to cast their ears upon the work of Leigh Carriage” said John Shand of the Sydney Morning Herald.
From the gorgeous, lullaby-like ʻAll While You Sleepʼ (a collaboration with Leighʼs longtime friend and mentor Michael Barkl) to the intensity of ʻBreaking Pointʼ (“I had the tempo and vibe in my head from the first moment but the band just took this to another level.”), Mandarin Skyline captures the freedom and magic of a group of extraordinarily talented musicians and friends coming together to explore the work of an exciting composing talent in Leigh Carriage.