"Christine Tobin is inspiring on her own material. But she is in a class of her own singing
"She should be on a global stage rubbing shoulders with fellow troubadours like Cave, Mitchell and Cohen... It's a tribute to the quality of Tobin's writing that there are no weak spots in this excellent collection"
John L Walters, The Guardian ****
"There’s a thrilling, dark timbre to Tobin’s voice that moves you like no other singer."
"One of the most gifted and original singer/songwriters in today’s jazz world."
Ian Carr, BBC Music Magazine
"...A decisive step by a very talented singer
and musician which delivers a fully mature creative vision"
Keith Shadwick, Jazzwise ****
"Both are artists who don’t believe in occupying one creative location until the grass grows over their shoes."
"...Dramatic, rich-voiced singer specialises in idiosyncratic, highly musical poetic vignettes
with a strong sense of story.”
Chris Ingham, Mojo
"You Draw The Line sees Tobin hit what is arguably the best form of her career"
Kevin Le Gendre, Music Week
"Tobin's new version of Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows is Stunning."
"If her work has the depth of Cohen or Joni Mitchell, can she be described as a jazzsinger
at all? The answer is in her controlled passion, superb timing, phrasing and modulation, which betrays a subtle bebop influence."
Mike Butler, The Metro Manchester
"On the Belfast poet Paul Muldoon’s Horses, she was dreamily evocative..."
"Too humane and humourous to preach, and too intelligent to deliver a formula for life, Christine Tobin is nevertheless fascinated by the pusuit of something that might stand up as The Truth."
"A natural and inventive storyteller"
Robert Shore, The Metro London
"One Christine Tobin album a year is pretty good going - two within a six-month period seems like utter luxury."
John L Walters
JAZZWISE review March 2014
A Thousand Kisses Deep
Carole King 'Tapestry Unravelled”
Christine Tobin (v); plus various personnel including Phil Robson (g); Huw Warren (acc); Dave Whitford (b); Adriano Adewale (perc)
Whether it's an affinity with his poetic sensibility – and at least one of the songs on this 11-track collection, 'Suzanne', was first published as a poem – or simply a deep-seated affection for his songs, there's something inherently right when vocalist Christine Tobin sings Leonard Cohen. Christine's ear for lyrical detail, coupled with her sensitivity to the singular mood of each song, combines to magical effect. From the alluring groove of 'Tower of Song', previously recorded by the singer on her 2003 album You Draw The Line, and the powerful imagery of 'Story Of Isaac', to the incredibly moving 'Anthem' (a duet with Gwilym Simcock, the only track to feature piano) and the enigmatic 'You Know Who I Am', a song that Christine has been singing since the age of 10, these are interpretations that shimmer with beauty and insight. As on her previous, award-winning release Sailing to Byzantium, the singer receives completely empathetic support from her musicians.
Leonard Cohen never made much impression on me, save when his songs crop up on others' recordings. The peerless singer Christine Tobin, though, has long had a special affinity for his work, and his words - a song or two of his appears on many of her past sessions. Now she gives us a full programme devoted to the sepulchral Canadian's work.
As her show at last year's London Jazz Festival presaged, the result is a real gem, a perfect presentation of 11 of his dark musings. The arrangements are stripped back, with acoustic or subtly electric guitar from Phil Robson, Dave Whitford's emphatic bass and percussion shaded just so by Adriano Adewale. Huw Warren, a strong presence on Tobin's first recording back in 1995, adds atmospheric accordion now and again. Anthem is a superb duo for voice and Gwilym Simcock's piano, and Nick Smart contributes affecting trumpet to Dance Me To the End of Love.
All the songs benefit from the breathing space built into this production. They are not so much jazzed up, perhaps, as jazzed down, the delivery tending at times almost to recitation. All the better for it: every word is heard to best effect, Tobin always finding exactly the right emphasis and inflection to bring out points of the lyric you might not notice.
There are musical touches to relish in every track, too: the nod to Miles' In A Silent Way at the close of Tower of Song; a Viennese tilt to Take This Waltz which would fit Ute Lemper (the accordion especially effective here); that interplay between voice and piano on Anthem. Overall, though, it is the blend of Tobin's lustrous dark voice with tart, often brooding words that creates that sense of rightness, that these songs might have been written with this performer in mind, because her mind reads them so sympathetically.
Tobin has some pretty good lyrics of her own, but just now she is on a roll with essays in intelligent interpretation. Her previous release Sailing to Byzantium, with her new settings of Yeats' poetry, was a fabulously successful marriage of words and music. Her vocal artistry here brings out the qualities of Cohen's words better than anyone else. It already makes her forthcoming collaboration with the always brilliant poet (and songwriter - they are different things) Paul Muldoon, sound like one to watch out for.
"Sexy, gutsy, bluesy and beautiful."
Lionel Shriver, Orange prize-winning author of ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’
"a jewel of the London jazz scene, streets ahead of the pack… She should be on a global stage, rubbing shoulders with fellow troubadours like Cave, Mitchell and Cohen.”
John L Walters The Guardian, May 08
(Secret Life Of A Girl)
"This group, by drawing their influence from diverse sources, has freed jazz from the
American concepts and this universality
appealed to me more than anything else”
“What draws me to her is her sound. I really like what she does and I find myself listening to what she says. I’m reminded that the voice is the primary source of all music.”
Mike Figgis film director
"That jazz is more about getting into its ‘spirit’ than sticking-to-genres was highlighted in this group.”
The Hindustan Times
“Christine Tobin has a particular aura of wandering on thin ice above the abyss of fatal threats. Her glowing voice is stamped by a sadness cloaked in beauty, like in a never exploding drama.”
Ulrich Olshausen Frankfurter Allgemeiner
“Christine’s own lyrics often echo Cohen’s
style of poetry. “I will let you flatter me/ Stroke
my silken hair/ And when you tousle with my shyness/ Make you believe I really care” –
sounds like Leonard to me.”
Lionel Schriver in Jazzwise Magazine 2008
“One of the most gifted and original singer/songwriters in today’s jazz world.”
BBC Music Magazine
“A singer who refuses to be boxed in
Clive Davis, The Sunday Times
“Tobin is forthright , self-revalatory , eclectic
John Fordham, The Guardian
“The Tobin voice is simply peerless.”
“Definitely one of the country’s very
Linton Chiswick ,Time Out
“One of the most creative vocalists on the contemporary scene."
“One of the finest vocal jazz collections in years”
John Lewis, Time Out
“Great timing is a gift given to few and one that Tobin possesses, along with an exciting tendency to take the darker path.”
“The Voice is a killer.”
“Too humane and humorous to preach, and too intelligent to deliver a formula for life, Christine Tobin is nevertheless fascinated by the pursuit of something that might stand up as The Truth”
Jazz UK J. Fordham
"What PJ Harvey achieved in rock and what Bjork did to dance music Christine Tobin could do to jazz - for the music's benefit."
“You Draw The Line is about Tobin setting her own philosophical agenda and crafting a personal creative lexicon that shakes those horribly glib terms such as tradition, modernity and post-modernity into a heady cocktail of originality.”
Kevin Le Gendre, Music Week
"She's got one of those voices that can move from pure, pastoral-edged folk whimsy to big angry blues mama in a single phrase; from world-weary interpreter of show tunes to howling rock diva within a single note...............one of the finest vocal jazz collections in years."
"Tobin's voice has an edge that recalls more over-the-top singers - the dangerous bite of Cathy Berberian, the damaged croak of Marianne Faithfull - without ever lurching into melodrama. She performs with a controlled drama."
Jazzwise hail her as "probably the most adventurous jazz singer of her generation in this country… This album leaves the back door open for fans of P.J. Harvey or Joan as Policewoman to get into her music."
Jazzwise May 2008
"lovely, many-hued voice – discreet and yet characterful. A class act."
Chris Parker, VORTEX online, May 08
"This imaginative set may be the one that finally pushes her towards wider recognition."
John Bungey, The Times ***
“…an album of cherishable ambition and
Robert Shore, London Metro
“This might be the most transparently intimate
and assured statement so far of what the unique singer Christine Tobin is all about”
John Fordham Jazz UK
“…it's a tribute to the quality of Tobin's writing that there are no weak spots in this excellent collection” ****