For her 2005 debut, Why Now, Anglo-Chinese musician Melissa was hailed by Chris Parker (Vortex, London) as " a witty, accomplished songwriter with the ability to deliver her material with beguiling, informal intimacy " and went on to predict that "her ability to write clever but affecting original songs that sound like standards in the making should see her establish herself in the top flight of vocalists in short order". Her new 2007 release, The Picture, for Feetfirst Records, sees that promise about to be fulfilled.
All of the thirteen songs on The Picture were penned by Melissa, proving that her talent for writing catchy tunes with interesting harmonies and witty, touching lyrics continues to blossom. From the up-tempo dismissal of a lover in "Romance Addio", to the haunting Evans-esque "The Picture", or the aching, melancholic "Wish It Wasn’t True", each and every one of Stott’s original songs casts a spell which is hard to forget. Tongue firmly in cheek, she imparts a cautionary tale about learning (or not) from your mistakes in "Hindsight" and dreams poignantly of better tomorrows in "A Little Contented Place".
Melissa has been lucky enough to work with some of Italy's finest musicians on this recording, along with special guest trumpet/flugel player Stjepko (Steve) Gut, whose work takes him from New York to Austria and just about everywhere in between. The line-up is completed by Nico Menci (piano), Matteo Raggi (tenor sax/bassoon), Max Chirico (piano), Pietro Ciancaglini (bass), Davide Brillante (guitar), Alessandro Minetto (drums) and Angela Alessi (violin).
As a vocalist, her style is natural and understated, yet "an almost conversational intimacy combines with subtle power" to produce feelings that it’s hard to put your finger on.
What they said about Why Now:
(Jazz Loft, USA)
"Stott is quite an extraordinary find "
(Jazz Review UK)
"such is her poise and innate swing...she's an excellent purveyor of a lyric, enunciating each line with an admirable clarity..."
(Jazzwise Magazine, UK)
"The interwoven fabric is that of the golden age of American jazz vocalese with the added attractions of surprisingly pliant vocals which intertwine scat, virtuosities and a crystalline polish. All this supported by an excellent bop-band."
( Jazz Magazine, Italy)
"Every track is a miniature "jewel" of harmonic delight"
"She is fully representative of a particularly British approach to song "
(Jazz Notes, France)
"captivating catching particular flavours and tastes in the folds of the pieces "
(Suono Magazine, Italy)
"This album counts as a masterpiece"
(Catfish Records, Japan)
"Clever but affecting original songs that sound like standards in the making"
(Chris Parker, UK)