Here are some Verge recordings. First the two trio offerings, Lavender's Blue and Live at the Albert, then the jazz and poetry classic If I Were a Gong, and finally two beautiful albums by Belfast singer Andra Sparks.

Where to buy



Lavender’s Blue

The trio’s first CD captures the essence of this exciting group. Here is what the critics have been saying:

'...sheer artistry...ecstatic groove...extraordinarily masterful..' (Ian Carr)

'...Nick Weldon, piano-playing son of Fay, shares his mother’s gift for storytelling...Lavender’s Blue is an unqualified triumph...I cannot think of a more enjoyable and artfully sculpted British recording to have come my way in the past year...' (Clive Davis, The Times)

'...the playing is relaxed, clear, intimate, adventurous, groovy and refreshing a piano trio album as you’ll hear all year...' (Rob Adams, Glasgow Herald)

Live at the Albert cover


Live At The Albert

Nick Weldon, the British pianist and composer, has been sidelined over the past decade as a terrific accompanist for singers rather than a soloist. He belongs in the tradition of vigorous, propulsive playing exemplified by such pianists as the 50s Miles Davis sideman Wynton Kelly - and he gives a pretty convincing opening demonstration of that on a headlong Falling in Love with Love, assisted by the attractively wayward notions of Paul Clarvis on drums and the unfaltering stride of Andy Cleyndert on bass. Weldon is a musician with a strong affinity for ballads, born out by the evocativeness of his melodic development in You Don't Know What Love Is. A fine bop trio live album with a quirky sensibility.

John Fordham The Guardian

If I Were a Gong cover

"Among the first releases from Verge is the remarkable If I Were A Gong, a single set in the '30's, whose narrative viewpoint comes from a sexually frustrated young lass. A rapturous melody gilds the raw emotion with melancholy. Typically, jazzmen reserve the scabrous stuff for print (Owning Up, Straight Life, Beneath the Underdog, etc), but If I Were A Gong simultaneously satisfies our puerile curiosity and need for lyrical jazz. Weldon could be onto something here'". **** MIKE BUTLER (CITY LIFE)

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People We Once Knew

Classically trained, professionally more noted for singing Barber, Poulenc and Madeleine Dring, Sparks fits amazingly well into the jazz settings of this lovely album. Her voice is beautiful; in a process both complex and deceptively simple, she uses it to sing these songs - standards and superb originals by Kenny Wheeler and pianist Nick Weldon - as if she means them. Equally impressive is the vocal and instrumental unity of each performance, bringing out the material’s varied character, with crucial support by Weldon, Jeff Clyne (bass), Trevor Tomkins (drums) and the gifted reedman, Iain Dixon. Standouts on this rather special album include Weldon’s title track, Dring’s Through The Centuries and Wheeler’s For Jan and Wintersweet.

Ray Comiskey (The Irish Times)

Your Time cover

Your Time

''There's something remarkable about Andra Sparks' singing - sure she has the clear diction, the sense of timing and the precise intonation that you expect of a top vocalist yet on top of this she has a rare ability to create totally engaging performances without all the effort and effects on which many others depend. She just seems to sing the songs.. yet turn them into highly charged statements.'

Pete Martin JAZZ UK

'Andra Sparks moved from a background in classical music and whilst there's a trace of precise classical intonation in her singing she is clearly more than comfortable in the jazz environment. The album comprises a mix of carefully chosen standards along with a few less familiar tunes such as Dorough and Landesman's' 'Small Day Tomorrow' a number that is given an outstanding interpretation here. Sparks is accompanied by a very strong band... tender and quite beautiful reading of... 'Ballad of the Young Men'....and for me the strongest song here, Sparks' version of the title song, Ferre's 'Your Time', a song both about the fading of love within a relationship, and on another level about the diminishing spirit of life itself... she almost recites the lyrics, imbuing the number with powerful emotion. This is a beautifully sung, well played and well recorded set that I hope will gain Andra Sparks the wider audience she clearly deserves.' HI FI MAGAZINE

On this second album Sparks' husky, intimate tones are brought to bear on an interestingly varied range of songs in clean but colourful arrangements by Nick Weldon. She's especially strong on the more soulful and introspective numbers and clearly has a strong affinity with Kenny Wheeler material (his 'Sweet Dulcinea Blue' is one of the standout tracks). Well supported by her band ... some particularly edgy sax from Russell van den Berg on But Beautiful.' PENGUIN ROUGH GUIDE TO JAZZ