Her previous two CDs reflected the early influences of Julie London, Marion Montgomery, Blossom Dearie and Chet Baker, but the beguiling enchantment of the bossa~nova, and in particular, the music of Brazilian composer, Antônio Carlos Jobim, fired her desire to record an album with the accent firmly on Brazil.
A chance meeting with Britain's amazing "Sirius B" gave Liz the authentic, vibrant Brazilian street sound she was looking for, culminating in "Tudo Azul", (an expression used by Brazilians when everything is going fine). Thirteen tracks delivered in English and Portuguese from the pens of some of Brazil's best writers, demonstrate Liz's natural affinity with the rhythms of Rio, from her jaunty scat-singing on "One Note Samba", lyrics one can almost taste in the delicious "Love Dance", to the more exotic African- influenced "Flower of Bahia".
'East meets West'
Having worked their way through the fast~emerging Latin scene in the Bath/Bristol area, the top-class musicians of "Sirius B" ~ leader, Joe Cavanagh, keyboard/guitar; Paul Downes, drums; Greg Cordez, bass; Kevin Figes, flute/tenor sax; and Felix Gibbons, percussion, together with their own vocalist, Azhar, have been gaining a reputation for excellence further afield with their "intoxicating sun-drenched sounds of Brazil" (Blues 'n Soul). They are a favourite at London's Jazz Café, and their own second album "Posto Nove" was voted one of Jazz FM's top 10 favourites of 2001. As part of the Barbican's Brasil 500 Festival, they were the support band for Brazil's international singing star, Caetano Veloso.
From the opening title "Non-Stop to Brazil", you can believe you are mingling with the 'beautiful people' on Ipanema beach as Liz's album takes you on a musical journey to soak up the sights, sounds, colours and flavours of this exotic country. Copies are currently available via Liz's website www.ashton1.clara.net/ where you can download soundclips, and purchase via a secure credit card system, cd.vine.
BBC Radio Suffolk's jazz presenter, Mike Hamilton, has already given it "top marks" on his programme. Paul Nieman of Brazilian band 'Nóis' describes it as "excellent".
'Nuts about Brazil'
Liz's dream to visit Brazil has also come true, (twice over!) after which her two travel diaries were published in an American magazine "Brazzil" www.brazzil.com in March, 2002 and January 2003. From the resultant feedback, Liz has made new friendships both in the USA and Brazil. Whilst in Salvador, Bahia, she made her Brazilian singing debut at the prestigious Praia do Forte Eco Resort.
The visit also gave her the opportunity to visit "Casa Jimmy", a children's shelter in Rio de Janeiro, run by TASKBrasil Trust (The Abandoned Street Kids of Brazil) who raise funds and awareness for the street children of Brazil. More about their work on www.taskbrasil.org.uk Liz has actively supported them for some time. Here are some points from their current Newsletter:
"In the last ten years, the number of light firearms in Rio de Janeiro has risen by 1,000%." "It is estimated that 10 thousand people are involved in organized crime in Rio de Janeiro. 5-6 thousand of these are under 18." "You could not imagine how many youngsters enter into drug trafficking for a pair of Nike trainers." "Nearly all of the youngsters involved in organized crime will die before they reach the age of 18."
For every copy sold of "Tudo Azul", a 10% donation will be made to TASKBrasil Trust
"The children I met at Casa Jimmy were delightful, affectionate young people" says Liz. "They deserve every possible chance of a new life away from the harsh realities of the streets. It is my wish that the proceeds from the CD will go some way towards giving these children much more than just a pair of trainers ..."
Liz will be one of the vocal guests at a special gourmet evening of dinner, jazz and dancing with the popular Patrician Jazz Quartet at Ely Maltings on Saturday, 8th February (Reservations 01353 662633); and later with the Fenjazz Trio at the Elme Hall Hotel, Wisbech, on Thursday, 6th March, 8.00 pm. (Enquiries: Ivan Garford 01354 657677) "Tudo Azul" will be available for sale at both these events, price £12.00