The Distance Between Two Truths – Mark Sholtez | CD review

(Warner)

I had Mark Sholtez slotted neatly into a ‘‘cocktail jazz’’ pigeonhole and, when he opened for a concert by US jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, I expected more of the same. Wrong.

The Brisbane singer delivered a spellbinding set of pop ballads laced with a few jazzy standards.

What a talent, with his velvety, understated vocals and percussive strummed chords augmented by Bruce Woodward’s rich guitar soloing.

Sholtez writes intelligent, adroitly melodic material, delivered with great panache.

His album, produced in the US by jazz bassist Larry Klein, has a coolly intimate feel.

The intriguing title reflects the songs’ lyrical dichotomy, according to Sholtez. There’s certainly a wry side to several tracks – for example the opening ‘A Thousand Skies’ (co-written with Alex Lloyd).

But much of the album is unashamedly romantic, from ‘This Perfect Day and ‘Mystery Of You’, with its Paul Simon-influenced township lilt, to the alluring ‘We Could Get Lost’ and ‘Far Enough Away’ – both certifiable classics.

It would also be remiss not to mention Chris Botti’s splendid concert CD/DVD ‘In Boston’ (Decca) – another surprise package!

- Mike Daly

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