The Linley Weir Quartet release profoundly felt and breathlessly energetic new CD
(London, England) Written by Robert Sutton. Linley Weir has a voice that is both deep and husky, topped off with an English accent that thickens when she sings in a lower register.
On her new album Desires, Weir knows exactly how to use those vocals as a weapon; they empower the words with profoundly felt emotion and gut-punching honesty. With a voice like that, a band is needed to provide an equally potent rhythm section, one that heightens and isn't intimidated by her fire.
Thankfully, the Linley Weir Quartet is greater than the sum of its parts. Weir's backing musicians are in maximum overdrive. On "I Like You Too," Tom Fry's muscular bass lines intensify Weir's bluesy ache, and Danny Keane's jamming piano and Brian Hedemann's pounding drums heighten the breathless energy of the opening cut, "Softly As in the Morning Sunrise."
Q: Every artist has a beginning, something that initially fueled the inspiration in becoming a musician. What was yours?
A: I was surrounded by music as a child with my father playing the bagpipes and my uncle being a professional classical pianist. I had piano lessons and enjoyed playing throughout my teens, but it wasn't until my 20s that I heard Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea's "Spain" on the radio. Something clicked that day: It was at that moment that I knew and felt with all my heart that I wanted to sing jazz.
Q: The interest was triggered then. How old were you it when it started becoming serious?
A: It was relatively late. I was 26 when I decided to go to music college so I was a mature student. That was probably a good thing, as I was a little wayward when I was younger. I studied jazz at Leeds College of Music, and that's where it all began for me.
Q: How have your views on music changed at this stage in your life now compared to when you were just starting out?
A: At first I didn't realize there's much more to being a musician than just playing music. You start out not thinking any further than the music you're creating, but then when you realize you actually have to make a living from it, the whole business side comes into play. It's a steep learning curve and something you have to pick up as you go along.
Q: Are you creating the kind of music that you've always loved or is it a simple matter of your voice being the most suitable for this style?
A: I am definitely playing the music I love. It was never a question for me whether my voice suited or didn't suit a style; it always started from what I felt inside. I was moved by listening to great musicians like Keith Jarrett and Nina Simone. The depth of emotion expressed through their music really hit the spot for me; I found it so exciting.
More Information: http://www.linleyweir.com