Jo Harrop, The Heart Wants (Lateralize)
London-based singer and songwriter Jo Harrop has a winner here. Her lyrics are intelligent and her voice is stunning, sure, smoky and playful as required on the baker's dozen tracks. It includes nine originals, written with a solid team of frequent collaborators, and four covers.
She explores the vagueries of life, loss, romance and renewed purpose. She even touches on the frustrations of the pandemic on “Everything's Changing.” The project includes covers of Duke Ellington's “All Too Soon” (a duet with bassist Christian McBride) and Tom Waits' “Rainbow Sleeves.”
Favorite tracks: her duet with pianist Jason Rebello as they recast Lerner and Loewe's “If Ever I Should Leave You” from Camelot and the anthemic closing track “Weather the Storm,” featuring guitarist Jamie McCredie, Nicky Brown on Hammond organ and a robust backing chorus.
Released last year in Europe, The Heart Wants was an April 25 U.S. release.