London Jazz News: "Something a bit special is going on when an artist .... takes the stage .... a classy poised singer"
BLUE TOWN TRIO
BLUE TOWN TRIO" features London-based vocalist Zoe Francis, the legendary, multi-award winning guitarist Jim Mullen and the incomparable Ross Stanley on Hammond Organ B3.
It's a cracking repertoire of classic standards with fresh arrangements. Songs including "Spring can really Hang You up the most", "Too late now", "Skylark", "Who Can I Turn To", "Midnight Sun", "Nature Boy", "Daydream", "My one and only love", "In a sentimental mood", "Cinema Paradiso" and many more. Zoe's beautiful voice set against the rich layers of sound from Ross's Hammond organ and Jim's melodic blues lines make this trio sound like a "mini orchestra".
NOT TO BE MISSED
10th/11th January 2023 - Blue Town Trio - Zoe Francis/vocals, Jim Mullen/Guitar and Ross Stanley/Hammond Organ: return to the studio to record their new album
HAPPY NEW YEAR - BLUE TOWN TRIO DATES FOR 2023
9th Blue Town JANUARY 2023
@The The White Horse, 84 Newnham Avenue Bedford MK41 9PX with special guest, Mark Hale/Drums,
Jim Mullen/Guitar, Zoe Francis/Vocals,
Ross Stanley/Hammond Organ
show Time: 08:30pm
27th January 2023
Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club, 140 Newington Butt's, London SE11 4RN
Featuring Zoe Francis/Vocals, Jim Mullen and Dave Warren/Guitars
Early Show from 08:30pm
Late Show from 22:30pm
28th January 2023
Burrough Jazz Club, Twyford Village Hall, Burrough-on-the Hill with Jim Mullen/Guitar, Zoe Francis/Vocals, Ross Stanley/Hammond Organ
Show Time: 07:30pm
5th February 2022
Blue Town Trio with Special Guest Rick Finley/drums
@ Elephant Inn, 283 Ballards Lane, Finchley, London N12 8NR
Show Time 08:00pm
18th February 2023
Blue Town Quartet With Zoe Francis/vocals, Jim Mullen/Guitar, Gareth Williams/piano and Dave Green/bass
@ Crazy Coqs Jazz Club, 20 Sherwood St., Piccadilly, Soho, London WF1 7ED
Show time 07:00pm
24th February 2023 - Zoe Francis / Jim Mullen Quartet
@ The Verdict Jazz Club, 159 Edwards Street, Brighton BN2 0JB
featuring Gareth Williams/piano & Steve Watts/bass
Show Time 08:00pm
Zoe Francis’s ‘Blue Town’ Project
(Pizza Express Dean Street. 10 November 2019. Review by Brian Blain)
With positive memories of Zoe Francis‘s Blue Town CD from the summer, I wondered how its predominantly ‘bittersweet’ mood would work in a live performance at Dean Street’s Pizza Express last Sunday. The short answer is ‘just beautifully’, with the balance between Jim Mullen‘s guitar, Ross Stanley‘s C3 Hammond and Ms Francis’s ever stronger and more relaxed voice absolutely perfect, assisted in no small way by the absence of drums........................
London Jazz News Review 28th November 2019
JAZZ VIEWS JULY 2019 - CD REVIEW - "BLUE TOWN"
This is an absolutely stunning album from Zoe Francis and in the best possible sense the perfect recording to sit down with your favorite drink and just let the sweet sound of Zoe, Ross Stanley and Jim Mullen wash over you. Having said that, there is nothing lightweight about this set, just some superb songs impeccably interpreted and played at just the right tempos.
LONDON JAZZ NEWS - 22ND JUNE 2019 - CD REVIEW - "BLUE TOWN"
With "BLUE TOWN", her fourth album,.....with just two stellar musicians, guitarist Jim Mullen, a legend to guitar players around the world and organist Ross Stanley.......With no drums or conventional electric or acoustic bass on which to centre the time this is quite a challenge but Mullen's restrained comping combined with Stanley's varied dynamics........are just what Francis's voice needs.
The voice; ah yes....... Above all, for me, she is ust fantastically cool....... Another of Zoe's qualities is her choice of material, from a road less travelled in the American Song Book - or even outside it
1. A flower is a lovesome thing (Strayhorn) 4.07
2. Early Autumn (Burns, Herman Mercer) 4.49
3. The meaning of the blues (Troup & Worth) 3.33
4. Daydream (Strayhorn) 4.09
5. A new town is a blue town (Ross & Adler) 4.09
6. Cinema Paradiso - Song for Elena/Love Theme (Morricone) 4.33
7. Who will buy (Bart) 5.18
8. All my tomorrows (Cahn, Van Huesen) 5.06
9. Love you madly (Ellington) 3.33
10. Spring can really hang you up the most (Wolf, Landesman) 4.46
11. You won't forget me (Spielman, Goell) 4.40
12. I got the right to sing the blues (Arlen, Koehler) 3.50
13. Deep in a dream (Van Huesen, DeLange) 4.09
Personnel / Zoe Francis, vocals
Ross Stanley / Hammond Organ
Jim Mullen / Guitar
Recorded & produced by John Gallen at Ianto Sound, London
23 & 24 Feb 2019.
Special thanks to Ian Thomas, Lucy Thomas and Lester Salmins
REMEMBERING BLOSSOM DEARIE
Zoe Francis and her great trio led by multi award-winning guitarist Jim Mullen take a fresh look at the repertoire of iconic American singer/pianist Blossom Dearie who's unique vocal style and accompaniment personalised every song she sang. Blossom moved to New York at the time of "Birth of The Cool" by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, hanging out with them and talking about the music scene on the East and West side of Manhattan that was changing. New composers and lyricists were shaking up the scene, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh, Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolf Green. In the late 1950's Blossom began recording six iconic albums for Verve label with great musicians including Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, Ed Thigpen. In 1966 Blossom recorded a live album at the legendary London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, where she become a favourite. Blossom loved London and would spend much time there often staying in Islington and the home of the late Richard Rodney Bennett. Daffodil records was Blossom's own label and she may well have been the first female artist to start her own label. In "Remembering Blossom Dearie" Zoe has captured the next generation of composers and lyricists after Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, that Blossom championed throughout her long much loved career.
"Very entertaining, well done" - Georgie Fame
"In this thoughtful collection of songs Zoe has delivered a heartfelt tribute to Blossom whilst giving each song her own personal touch. Stylish, warm and intelligent singing, never over embellishing and with respet to the melody and lyric. Zoe should be proud of this album which I think will earn her new fans very quickly." - Clair Martin OBE
LONDON JAZZ NEWS - LIVE AT LAUDERDALE HOUSE 17TH MAY 2018
"A lovely, delightfully subtle evening....." Brain Blain
LONDON JAZZ NEWS - CD REVIEW MARCH 2018 - "REMEMBERING BLOSSOM DEARIE"
"......if you like the music of Blossom Dearie you will enjoy this album. If you are new to her work this fresh take will serve as an excellent introduction to both her and to lovely Zoe Francis"..... Jane Mann
LIVE AT CRAZY COQS - 21ST FEBRUARY 2019
"Because taste is her middle name the evening reeked class and style.....Do yourself a favour, get hold of a copy of Zoe's CD "REMEMBERIING Blossom Dearie" and wallow in top-of-the-line entertainment"
SANDY BROWN JAZZ - CD REVIEW FEBRUARY 2018 - "REMEMBERIING BLOSSOM DEARIE"
"There is certainly no ambiguity about the singing style of Zoe Francis, her first two albums, Looking For A Boy and The Very Thought Of You have received much favourable reaction. Dave Gelly said 'She communicates a love and understanding of the classic American song with the lightest of touches'. This light touch is perhaps reminiscent of Blossom Dearie but whereas Blossom did not quite get to grips with all the songs on the Comden and Green album Zoe Francis has the power and depth in her voice to do these songs justice" - Howard Lawes
A Musical Journey
London-born Zoe Francis grew up in Northern Ireland in an artistic environment, her father John and grandfather Colin Middleton MBE were celebrated artists and encouraged a lifelong love of art.
When her parents separated she moved to Lincolnshire with her mum and sister. Zoe fell in love with dancing through films starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse and in her teenage years she toured with a contemporary dance company and acted in a local theatre group.
On a visit to New York while learning Tango and going to Jazz clubs, a musician introduced her to the vocal workshops of pianist Barry Harris. This was a turning point for Zoe. She discovered her love of great songs and lyrics and was encouraged to pursue singing. Alongside the weekly workshops Zoe began singing in the many jam sessions held around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Harlem. This led to her performing in local clubs with musicians of the calibre of Harry Allen, Joe Cohn, Warren Vache, and Chris Flory.
Although she loved her time in New York, a homesick Zoe returned to the UK and moved to Bristol where she began performing with award-winning pianist David Newton. In 2013 she recorded her first album “Looking For a Boy” with David Newton.
A move to London gave Zoe the opportunity to work with top players like Gareth Williams, Stan Sulzmann, and Jim Mullen, producing a live album at London’s 606 jazz club in 2014 which led to her performing with this band including Mick Hutton and Enzo Zirilli in and around the London area.
Zoe’s album “Remembering Blossom Dearie” 2018 celebrates the reportoire of the singer/pianist Blossom Dearie with Jim Mullen, Barry Green and Mick Hutton.
Zoe's new album, blue town, is a selection of bittersweet songs the lyrics of which capture our moods whether we are reminiscing or daydreaming, hopeful or heartbroken and features multi-award winning guitarist Jim Mullen and the incomparable Ross Stanley on Hammond organ.
LIVE AT PIZZA EXPRESS - MAY 19TH 2015 - REVIEW
“Several months having passed since hearing the debut show of singer Zoe Francis” so “it was with some sense of anticipation that I made my way to Dean Street's Pizza Express on Tuesday last.”……. “Immediately one could not help noticing an increased authority, and yet - and it is an important part of her appeal - she retains an almost diffident charm and a vocal quality” …..
Brian Blain – London Jazz News – May 2015
JAZZ VIEWS JANUARY 2015 - ZOE'S CD "LOOKING FOR A BOY" REVIEWED
……There is no doubt that Zoe Francis is a singer to watch out for in the future and her choice of musicians is impeccable. Stan Sulzmann’s contribution on tenor saxophone are particularly outstanding and pianist Gareth Williams has also plenty of fine playing on the album…….An absorbing release and one I would not hesitate to recommend to lovers of quality singers.
Reviewed by Roy Booth
GUARDIAN 22ND DECEMBER 2013 - ZOE'S CD "LOOKING FOR A BOY" REVIEWED.
(ZFR) Zoe Francis is a singer to listen out for. She communicates a love and understanding of classic American song with the lightest of touches. It sounds easy and casual until you notice how deftly each turn of phrase falls in just the right place, both rhythmically and to chime with the meaning of the words. Her choice of not-quite-forgotten songs (Down With Love, I Wish I Knew, etc) is canny, too. With the A-team accompaniment of pianist David Newton, guitarist Colin Oxley and bassist Andrew Cleyndert generating just the right kind of gentle but irresistible swing, it’s a classy set. Dave Gelly
This is what you missed!