Ruby Ruby Ruby, The Shadow of Your Smile

Ruby Ruby Ruby are more or less a vehicle for experimental German singer Margareth Kammerer, who came to the attention of Sound Projector readers back in issue 13 with her début album To Be an Animal of Real Flesh.  That venture was an ambitious and successful reinterpretation of several modernist poems as song lyrics, with Kammerer’s solo acoustic readings framed by various remixers’ efforts to present them in a more oblique fashion.  Since then, Kammerer has been involved in The Magic ID, a song-based project with Berlin improviser Christof Kurzmann, and also formed Ruby Ruby Ruby to pay homage to Billie Holiday and other jazz singers.  This appears to have been a one-off project, there being no indication that the group (consisting of Derek Shirley and Steve Heather alongside Kammerer) has done anything else or is planning to work together again.  Although the album was recorded in 2007, it only saw release in 2009; kudos, then, to Ignaz Schick of Zarek Records for persevering with it and seeing it through to this eventual release.

Unlike Kammerer’s other activities, The Shadow of Your Smile is not in the least bit experimental (and is, therefore, rather unexpected).  It’s an album of jazz standards, no more and no less, sung beautifully and performed to perfection.  All the time-honoured tropes of nightclub jazz are here: strong yet sensitive vocals, muted sax and trumpet, swishing percussion.  If you like the idea of going to a dark, smoky jazz club to watch a gorgeous singer doing her stuff in the spotlight, while a group of dedicated, unsung musicians lay down the tempo and the swing behind her, then this is the record for you.

(Originally published in The Sound Projector 18, 2009)

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