charlie wood, tomorrow night

Tomorrow Night ★★★★

R2 Magazine

‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?’ is one of those pre- Saturday Night Fever Bee Gee songs, an American Number One that never even charted here.

On his seventh studio LP, Tomorrow Night, it sounds more like a Charlie Wood song. RNR-favourite Charlie toured with Albert King, issued albums through Go Jazz and the Memphis-based Archer label, until his Atlantic-crossing New Souvenirs in 2014 became his debut U.K. studio set, co-produced with partner Jacqui Dankworth. Just listen.

It’s here that jazz intimately copulates with Blues, New Orleans-easy with Memphis kick, well-honeyed horns and spiralling trumpet. This is smoky, sighing, late-night soul from Beale Street to East McLemore Avenue, a members-only party for the sad and lonely. The smoothest groove ensemble jostles around Charlie’s casual, assured vocals, with the kind of Hammond B3 you last heard from Georgie Fame.

It’s the thick, buttery sound of bourbon and sour, bending rays of light moodily slow. The heartbreak parting of ‘To Memphis, With Love’ is instant classic. Flip it back. Play it again. His take on Otis Redding’s aching ‘These Arms Of Mine’ tells a truth that hurts. He premiered it on his Live In London (2006). But miss this one, and you’re missing ‘The Good Stuff’. Too much of this is not enough.

Andrew Darlington
November 2018