After a quiet summer for new album releases, legendary singer songwriter Van Morrison’s latest album, and his first for Blue Note in nine years, looks like being a jewel of the autumn schedule, which also includes new releases from Kurt Elling, John McLaughlin, Courtney Pine and Jan Garbarek. Entitled Born To Sing: No Plan B, his first album for the label since 2003’s What’s Wrong With This Picture?, it’s set for release in the UK on 1 October. He returns to Blue Note under the auspices of newly appointed label president Don Was, whose other notable recent signings include bringing Wayne Shorter back to the historic imprint for the first time since the saxophonist’s 1960s post-bop heyday, as well as overseeing Ravi Coltrane’s triumphant Blue Note debut in June with Spirit Fiction.
Born To Sing: No Plan B finds Morrison emphatically moving back into jazz territory, and has resulted in a wonderfully laconic, live-in-the-studio atmosphere. Yet the laidback feel is counterbalanced with some of his most acerbic, politically charged and socially conscious lyrics to date, not least the biting commentary on ‘If In Money We Trust’. Produced by Morrison and recorded in his native Belfast, initial listens suggest it’s his strongest album for some time. The track listing of ten originals is as follows: ‘Open The Door (To Your Heart)’; ‘Going Down To Monte Carlo’; ‘Born To Sing’; ‘End Of The Rainbow’; ‘Close Enough For Jazz’; ‘Mystic Of The East’; ‘Retreat And View’; ‘If In Money We Trust’; ‘Pagan Heart’ and ‘Educating Archie’.
In a press release Morrison said of his move back to Blue Note: ‘With most record companies being so corporate I am happy to be working with Don Was and the team at Blue Note. To have such a creative music person as the head of my recording label assures me that all the effort taken to write and record this new album will be rewarded with a music-based focus and marketing approach. I look forward to many recording projects with Don and Blue Note.”
Label president Don Was, also commented: “Over a career that spans four decades, Van Morrison has developed a body of work that is unparalleled in its consistent excellence. He is one of the greatest singer/songwriter/musicians of all time. We are incredibly honored that he has chosen to record for the Blue Note label and look forward to many fruitful years together.”
Morrison is set to play a series of gigs in the UK and Ireland ahead of the album’s release and right through until late autumn, including: Greenman Festival, Wales (18 August); Marlay Park, Dublin (25 August); East Belfast Arts Festival (8 September); Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (21 September); Grosvenor House Hotel (14-15 October); Canterbury Festival, Marlowe Theatre (23-24 October); Knocknarea Arena, Sligo, Ireland (27 November) and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (28 October).
For tickets see www.ticketmaster.com
– Mike Flynn