quotes

"Fleur Stevenson is a wonderful singer with a great musical ear and natural jazz feel. I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing her promising career unfold.''
Claire Martin OBE

"Fleur Stevenson - a beguiling jazz vocalist with a beauty of nature, tone and delivery coupled with an innate musicianship and artistry, definitely one to watch."
Verona Chard
X Factor - judges expert coach and jazz vocalist

"Fleur Stevenson is a classy jazz singer backed by excellent musicians performing classic jazz tunes as well as original material, if she is performing at a venue near you then make sure you go along, you won’t be disappointed."
Graham Steel
Graham Steel Music Company


'Follow Me' album reviews

Fleur Stevenson - 'Follow Me', 19 May 2019, Something Else Reviews:

Fleur Stevenson is a creative, imaginative singer and has worked with some of the top musicians including Gareth Williams, Brandon Allen and David Newton and Frank Harrison to name but a few. She has performed at major U.K. venues including Pizza Express Jazz Club, Ronnie Scott's, the 606 Club and many more.

Classically trained in trumpet and voice, she was a chorister as a young singer. Then Stevenson stood in for the singer in a local jazz band during rehearsal and realised she felt at home with jazz. She formed her own band and also founded Jazz Singer's Night in Reading to encourage jazz vocalists. She is very much a rising star on the British jazz scene.

Her upcoming release Follow Me, due on June 2, 2019, is a brilliant insight into the vocal talent she possesses - and that talent goes deep.

"Beautiful Love" opens the album; it's a lovely, trippy number with an uplifting essence from the start. A celebration of love, this song is well suited to Fleur's vocal agility and also includes some stellar piano from Pete Billington (Pete Billington Jazz Group, Jamie Cullum, Tina May), and some rather gorgeous scat singing. Scat can kill a good song and often does - but here, Fleur drops in and out with precision timing and the creative use of her voice as an instrument is perfect for this number. Her intuitive musicality shows as she revels in ascensions and descensions which would probably scare the pants off even the most practiced lesser-talented performer. A musically well-arranged and cleverly proportioned number, "Beautiful Love" is a great opener, with some great percussion from Simon Price too.

"Misty Roses" is swingy, sultry and atmospheric, a story of enchantment and wonder. Also pretty enchanting vocally. A change in atmosphere from the previous track, Fleur Stevenson demonstrates more of her vocal prowess - and this is over some great piano once again as well as a really good and controlled bass line, well worked by Raph Mizraki (Adderbury Ensemble, Concordia). The title track is simply good old-fashioned jazz with some good lyrics, clear as a bell vocals and solid backing. There are really well-thought-out solos from Billington on piano and Price on drums, with a deftly inserted touch of improvisation slotted in, just in case anyone was feeling musically bereft.

"The Nearness of You" is given a make-over and interpretation by Fleur and the group and it works well. Crystal clear vocals bring the lyrics to life, aided by the emotive singing and careful arrangement. Mizraki's bass solo is rich and gently assertive without being overbearing. Too often songs or how they are sung are said to be "beautiful", but this is a truly beautiful, delicate interpretation of this standard. "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" was made famous by singers including Sarah Vaughan, and Fleur Stevenson chooses to present it with a slower, breathy introduction, evolving into a slightly sassy delivery - complete with another perfectly timed and pitched scat section. The piano and band move to the fore during the third quarter and, in a delicious, slightly irreverent manner, take the speed up a notch and swing the song out the courtyard. It's huge fun and a great interpretation.

"Can't Help Falling In Love" is always in danger of becoming hackneyed, but not in Stevenson's hands - not for a moment. The song is given a vocal and musical brush down, then returned to the listener in a tender form steeped with passion. Again, Pete Billington's piano steals the middle section, worked over a bedrock of Raph Mizraki's bass and Simon Price's drums before the vocals return, still bang on point, still warm, tender and sweet until the last breathy note. "Teach Me Tonight" opens in 4/4, which is slowed down precisely one beat after the vocals enters, This works an ear-catching treat. Taken to the lower range of her vocal scope, Fleur Stevenson rolls with this one as the band-led section takes us down the road of the blues.

"I Talk to the Wind" is dramatic, well-arranged and delivered with class. "I Thought About You" starts with a Mizraki bass solo, over which the vocals drop in, all narrative with a twist of the cheeky and just a touch of sleaze. Gorgeous. "Old Devil Moon" is fun, lively and there is a knowing in the delivery. The piano and drums parts offer change and variety to an already multi-layered number. Smiles all round.

A piano/voice duet, "You Must Believe In Spring" begins with keyboard setting the theme before the vocals come in. The song gets emotional, a little melancholic and then supremely hopeful, lifted as the vocals develop the lyrics. The piano is excellent but Billington has proved himself many times on this album. The track is lovely in many senses.

Fleur Stevenson's Follow Me is incredibly easy on the ears. The musicality and arrangements are good, and Stevenson is in possession of a voice which has power - yet she has the control to drop down to a caress in a heart-beat. And she can scat; boy, can she scat! There is attention to detail in every track and very clear nods to the composers, yet each number is also imbued with originality. The musicians are allowed to sparkle and shine with intensity on occasion which shows a generosity in arrangement redolent of the original performances.

This album is class, it has style and it is an up-lifter of spirits. Follow Me? I think a good number of music lovers will do just that.

Sammy Stein, Something Else.

Fleur Stevenson - 'Follow Me' album review - (2019), Jazz Views:

This is an absolutely delightful album from Fleur Stevenson, and for the cynics who question if we really need another recording of some of these wonderful songs from the Great American Songbook then the answer must be an emphatic yes. It is always said that talent can spot talent, and to this end Fleur has been been mentored by none other than Claire Martin who has described her as "A wonderful singer with a great musical ear and natural jazz feel." which is a quality displayed in abundance here.

Having been immersed in music from an early age, Fleur was brought up on classical and ecclesiastical music singing in the church choir, and then classically trained in both voice and trumpet. This formal study has stod her in good stead, yet not stifled her natural instinct and feel that is essential in jazz.

She has soft and pure velvety tone that make her performances swing effortlessly as on 'Old Devil Moon that also boasts a sparkling and inventive solo from pianist, Peter Billington, and the singer shows her her own improvisation prowess with her own scat chorus that brings the tune to a close. This ability to scat so convincingly and inventively is also heard on a fine improvisation from Fleur on 'You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To', and on the albums opening number, 'Beautiful Love'. Equally fine is Fleur's interpretation of Van Heusen and Mercer's 'I Thought About You' with some commanding playing from bassist, Ralph Mizraki, and the wild card of the set a wonderful samba arrangement of King Crimson's 'I Talk To The Wind.

On the slower numbers Fleur shows her mastery of the ballad with a stunning 'The Nearness Of You' by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washing ton, a tune I have always had a soft spot for, and is as good as any other I've heard, and with an intimate reading of 'You Must Believe In Spring accompanied by just piano, a flawless performance that immediately had me reaching for the repeat button as the final notes decay.

This is an album that is packed with great songs that are well arranged, not to show off Stevenson's considerable talents, but produce a recording that shows a well oiled quartet performance from beginning to end and will appeal to all who appreciate top draw vocal jazz, and when picking up your copy you may wish to take the chance grab yourself Fleur's debut EP, Introducing Fleur Stevenson, which is also not to be missed and while she still has some left.

Nick Lea, Jazz Views

Fleur Stevenson - 'Follow Me', 16 June 2019, All About Jazz:

There are plenty of standards adorning Fleur Stevenson's debut album. This comes in the wake of her career-launching salvo, an EP entitled Introducing Fleur Stevenson, released in 2016. Stevenson possesses an appealing voice and, on the breezy opener "Beautiful Love," proves she can scat as deftly as she can sing Haven Gillespie's memorable words. While the majority of the album's eleven tracks are derived from the Great American Songbook, there are a couple of obvious outliers included here. Tim Hardin's lyrical "Misty Roses" is given an appropriately elegant work over. But the real oddity is Ian McDonald and Pete Sinfield's "I Talk To The Wind," which first appeared on the King Crimson proto-prog rock album In The Court Of The Crimson King (Island Records, 1969). Although it is unusual to be re-envisaged as a jazz song, especially a samba, Stevenson does a good job of adding poignancy to what was an atypically romantic number for Robert Fripp's seemingly immortal band.

Another track that isn't usually attributable to the canon of American standards is "Can't Help Falling In Love" (despite Andy Williams' best efforts), but Stevenson succeeds in converting this torch song into a sultry, jazzy ballad. The choice of other numbers is more predictable, such as "Teach Me Tonight" and "I Thought About You," where Stevenson's perky delivery appears to channel some of her vocalist predecessors such as Peggy Lee and Stacey Kent. She can also swing with the best of them as heard on the old Frank Sinatra hit, "Old Devil Moon."

Stevenson clearly benefits from a winsome voice that delivers right-on-the-money versions of Hoagy Carmichael's irresistible "The Nearness Of You" and Cole Porter's timeless "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," replete with more groove-laden scat singing. But Stevenson also benefits from a first-class backing trio, as evidenced by Pete Billington's piano solo on "Beautiful Love" and Raph Mizraki's bass solo on "I Thought About You." Meanwhile, the closer, Michel Legrand's "You Must Believe In Spring," provides a gorgeously sensitive finale to fifty minutes of charming vocal jazz.

Track Listing: Beautiful love; Misty roses; Follow me; The nearness of you; You'd be so nice to come home to; Can't help falling in love; Teach me tonight; I talk to the wind; I thought about you; Old devil moon; You must believe in spring.

Personnel: Fleur Stevenson: vocals; Pete Billington: piano; Raph Mizraki: double bass; Simon Price: drums.

Roger Farbey, All About Jazz

Fleur Stevenson 'Follow Me', 26 June 2019, Bebop Spoken Here

Fleur Stevenson (voice); Pete Billington (piano, arranger); Ralph Mizraki (bass); Simon Price (drums) (Review by Ann Alex)

'A treat for fans of first class, straight ahead vocal jazz delivered by one of the UK's fastest rising stars'. I quote from the information sheet, but I couldn't have summed it up better. Yet another woman singer, some would cry, but I reckon that we should rejoice and enjoy all these fine singers as they are all somewhat different and there is room for many more and they will all find their place. Though I would like to see more male singers and many more women instrumentalists. I digress.

Ms Stevenson comes recommended by Claire Martin OBE and this CD is a follow up to a well-received EP. We have 11 tracks, all love songs except one, including 9 jazz standards and also versions of King Crimson's I Talk To The Wind and the Elvis song Can't Help Falling In Love. The honey-toned voice is a delight, excellent diction, feelingly sung, and the trio perform really well, with lots of space for piano solos.

Tracks which are worth a special mention are: the King Crimson number, a samba to fast drums, with lyrics all about being in a confused world (like current politics?); Misty Roses, sung in an intimate voice, comparing short-lived roses to a love affair: Teach Me Tonight, where this singer really swings, 'graduation's almost here my love' (whatever they did for graduation is thankfully left unsaid!); I Thought About You, which has the bass playing like the train over tracks; and You Must Believe In Spring, which closes the album neatly, a slow contemplative song of optimism, with a pleasing piano solo.

The rest of the tracks are; Beautiful Love; Follow Me; The Nearness Of You; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Old Devil Moon.

If you're down London way on July 2 you can catch the album launch at Pizza Express, Soho. See www.fleurstevensonjazz.co.uk (self-released)

Ann Alex, Bebop Spoken Here


Fleur Stevenson - 'Follow Me', 23 September 2019, Jazz Journal:

Operating mainly in the Oxfordshire and Berkshire region, Fleur Stevenson is a relaxed jazz vocalist with a bright voice, good phrasing and the ability to swing at any tempo. This is her first full-length CD and she has just the right support from the Billington trio. The pianist was also responsible for the arrangements. Ralph Mizraki on bass and Simon Price on drums complete a lively rhythm section.

Fleur begins this recital with Beautiful Love which she sings in confident mode at medium tempo and throws in some scatting. Misty Roses has a fairly dramatic treatment from the vocalist with the rhythm section cruising behind her. Lerner and Lowe’s lesser known Follow Me suits Fleur’s mid-tempo slow burn build up with, once again, sympathetic support from the gently flowing rhythm players. There is an air of casualness about tracks like this one which should not disguise the artistry behind the interpretation.

Fleur sings the verse before launching into a warm, relaxed sounding recital of The Nearness Of You. Ms Stevenson has the ability to put over divergent material in a personal style which although not fully developed yet will, I believe, in time mark her down as a top-flight jazz singer. Claire Martin has already sung her praises publicly and many more, I think, will follow.

The programme chosen here consists of well- and lesser-known standards and includes the unlikely, I Talk To The Wind, The McDonald/ Sinfield line from the original, classic King Crimson album. Any singer that can jump comfortably from You’d Be So Nice to this rock anthem piece is doing very well indeed. Her romantic ballad style is well represented by Can’t Help Falling In Love.

A final thought. Although much of the success of this CD is the combination of voice, good arrangements and rhythm backing, it is helped enormously by the first-class recording and sound balance achieved by Damon Sawyer at Crescent Records, Swindon. Sound engineers are rarely singled out for praise but in this case it would be a crime not to.

Derek Ansell, Jazz Journal


Show reviews

'Follow Me' album launch at Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, 2 July 2019 - audience feedback:

''Fleur Stevenson has it all, great style, great voice, good audience connection and a terrific band too!'' Anthony L. Steinberg, London.

''Absolutely fabulous evening watching Fleur. Always a pleasure to see her sing. Loved the atmosphere, will definitely be coming back to Pizza Express Jazz Club.''

''An excellent evening, music was first class. Fleur is an amazing talent that the whole world should hear. Can't wait for the next gig!! Brilliant.''

''Excellent performance! Made my night!!'' Brianne and Frank Schwariz

''Brilliant as always. Great night.'' Chris Hollebone

''Beautiful evening of talented musicians. Kept us all tapping toes!'' Well done all. Neil Durno.

''Fleur is indeed a wonderful singer and her scatting is a joy. She has a huge vocal range and focusses completely on each song. A pure voice which has the audience enthralled. Tonight is a memorable one, with a terrific band, simply the best.'' Anne

Fleur Stevenson and Hugh Turner show at the Angel, Woolhampton on Saturday 8th June 2019:

Sitting perched on high stools Fleur Stevenson and Hugh Turner looked and sounded relaxed all evening. It isn't the easiest gig to pull off successfully, a singer and a guitar player entertaining a room full of enthusiasts for a couple of hours but these two managed it very well. Fleur Stevenson is a jazz singer who knows how to use her voice to good advantage over a programme of well worn but ever popular standard songs. Hugh Turner is an accomplished guitar player who can provide a sparse or intricate backing, depending entirely on the song and the singer's requirements. On this occasion the two of them sat chatting to the audience and to themselves between selections establishing a good rapport with the audience that lasted throughout. Ms Stevenson can glide through a song with a refreshing personal interpretation that never strays far from the melody but she manages to improvise inventively on everything she sings. She can be intimate, as and when the song demands or warm yet husky when interpreting a piece like Angel Eyes, a firm favourite with most jazz singers. Beautiful Love is a different animal altogether and here she showed skill in handling an up tempo piece and adding a scat chorus to the mix. Blue Skies is another favourite with jazz people and here we had the bonus of a well structured and intricate guitar solo from Hugh Turner. Quiet Nights floated along peacefully and smoothly with Fleur crooning gently this time and the guitar support minimal.

After the interval these two seemed to grow even more relaxed as they continued with songs such as I Thought About You and, particularly, I've Grown Accustomed To His Face where Fleur's delivery was spot on and she sang the song as though living through the experience. In this regard Lover Man suited her well too; it is the sort of atmospheric torch song that sorts out the women from the little girls and on this reading Fleur was all woman giving the composition a warm interpretation but in a dramatic style. Georgia was a good choice of ballad that obviously suited both performers. She could swing hard too on songs like It's Alright With Me. On this showing it was alright with everybody, audience, bar staff at the Angel and yours truly.

Derek Ansell

Newbury Jazz Festival, 14 July 2019:

''...we heard Fleur Stevenson who doubled the size of her band heard recently at the Angel Woolhampton by adding bassist Ralph Mizraki's bass to Hugh Turner's guitar. Fleur was on good form, her voice bright and swinging nicely as she covered some standards and also played Watermelon Man. With a bit of luck, Herbie, it's coming back into fashion! She gave personal readings to Lover Man, Teach Me Tonight and Beautiful Love with sterling support from bass and guitar. Hugh Turner's solos were exercises in improvised jazz at its best. The bright weather was acknowledged in Fleur's sparkling version of Summertime.''

Derek Ansell