New Album Release – Gemma Sherry ‘Songs I Love’ – Featuring Billy Woodman
In music, timing is everything. The same could be said about the making of the album “Songs I Love”. ATC founder, Billy Woodman, an accomplished pianist and arranger, originally from Australia knew his relative, Gemma Sherry was into Jazz but it wasn’t until recently that their musical lives coincided.
In his early 20’s Billy made his way to England from Australia as a pianist on a cruise ship. This was followed by many years of touring and performing with some of the biggest name vocalists in England. Gemma, who is from a small town in outback Australia, started off playing saxophone in numerous jazz bands. After being accepted into music school she moved to New York City to study Jazz singing.
Gemma and Billy’s first musical encounter was when she was a teenager and during one of Billy’s trips back to Australia to visit his family, however it would be another 10 years before they began discussing the idea of making an album together. The original concept was to capture all of the musical talent in the family by including Gemma’s brother Jacob Sherry, an accomplished bassist. However with the family split between Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. this was very difficult and it wasn’t until 2019 that Gemma was able to sit down with Billy and bass player, Mike Waite to record a full album at Yellow Shark Recording Studios in Cheltenham, England, with none other than award winning New Zealand born engineer Clint Murphy behind the mixing desk.
This inspiration for this album was to showcase some of the most beautiful jazz songs that have ever been written. Billy & Gemma both have the same approach in that they believe the songs should be allowed to speak for themselves. It’s the subtlety in the music that shines and you can hear that from both Billy’s playing and Gemma’s singing. Their treatment of the melody and chords is with care and thought. Billy’s arrangement of all the songs shows his deep love for piano voicings and getting them, ‘just right’. He is an absolute perfectionist and you can hear that. Even if you didn’t know they were related, it’s hard to miss the effortless musical connection between Billy and Gemma as you listen to the album. There is such an understanding between the both of them. It also helped that Billy and Mike Waite have been playing together for over 20 years, having weekly jam sessions and rehearsals.
With a wide range of influences including legends such as Bill Evans, Kenny Barron, Blossom Dearie and Astrud Gilberto, the album ”Songs I Love” is a treasure.
The album was mastered by Ryan Smith at the new Sterling Sound facility in Nashville, TN, USA who employ ATC monitoring throughout their new facilities.
The album is available now from Gemma’s Bandcamp page. If you would like information on upcoming gigs, please visit www.gemmasherry.com
Clint Murphy Productions. Yellow Shark Studios. Sterling Sound Mastering.