ClaudiaMorris

A wonderfully expressive voice

Reviews

Roderic Dunnett, Musical Theatre Review

Secret Love was performed at the Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe and continues to tour until 28 November.

Doris Day was a phenomenon, and became a legend almost before her time. Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati in 1924, she was a teen star – by 13 a potential dancer – groomed for the stage and, more importantly, almost 40 films, in an era when movie stardom really hit the heights. Somewhere between Forces’ Sweetheart, Greta Garbo and a big band answer to her heroine Ella Fitzgerald, by 15 she was on the way and soon hit the top.

Beautifully written by Phil Willmott who also directs,the musical play Secret Love includes a specially recorded message from the almost 90-year-old Day herself (the name came from her singing the post-war hit ‘Day after Day’). The show itself turns out to be a true celebration of the singer and actress which thankfully does not try to ape her vocal mannerisms or spectacular blonde hairstyles.

The music – a wonderful survey of Day’s great hits – is characterfully backed by a traditional onstage trio – keyboard, bass, drums – led by musical director Malcolm Edmonstone. The actor/singers are a trio too, beginning with Claudia Morris as the feisty, ambitious yet blessedly innocent young singer, eventually going through four marriages and moments of financial collapse (due to one imprudent husband, also her agent), and caring desperately post-war for her son Terry.

Actor Andrew Glen plays several agreeable bit parts and proves himself a truly fine singer, a wonderful tenor sound that enhances the production. The acting from fellow-Scot David Haydn, who portrays (amongst others) the husbands, is a joy, engaging the audience from start to finish. Every generous smile and well-meaning smirk, shy shuffle or quiver of the shoulders, speaks volumes.

The way Willmott and Morris have woven the songs into the story of Day’s life – a saga of rich variety and intense, lovable humanity and ordinariness – is frankly miraculous. I can think of only one similar show I have seen recently which had a comparable impact – albeit more ironically – and that was Maureen Lipman in Gloriouswhere she charted the career of the American singer Florence Foster Jenkins.

Lipman performed the Queen of the Night’s aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and sang it perfectly out of tune (that was Jenkins’ speciality). Morris, by contrast, sings with flair and beauty, innocence and integrity, and with her colleagues catches appetisingly the louche nature of the 1950s Sinatra-era. When the three sing together, it’s even more magical still.

David Gregor, Bolton FM

You have to possess a rare musical talent to attempt a musical based on the life of Doris Day.
Yet Claudia Morris not only succeeds, but does so brilliantly. In the company of pianist and musical director Malcolm Edmonstone and guitarist Matt Backer, Claudia adds a sophisticated jazz take on many of Doris Day's hits with a voice that is pitch-perfect, is beautifully interpretive with flawless diction and has an unerring sense of rhythm.

The album "Secret Love" is now available, and as the lyrics to the title track say "and my Secret Love's no secret any more".
If there is any justice, it should sell by the barrow-load.

Ann Alex, Bebop Spoken Here

This is not an easy CD to review because it is simply so good that there is not much to say except 'listen to it for yourself'. Claudia Morris has a sweet pure-toned voice with excellent diction, you'll be able to hear every word. She doesn't imitate Doris Day but has her own distinctive style and she sings in 'English', that is, without any trace of Americanisms, which emphasises the universal quality of the songs. The musicians are more than up to the task; they have short solos as the emphasis is on the singing.

My favourite track is the most minimalist one: I'll Never Stop Loving You - try listening to this without a tear in your eye; it's just a single chorus of voice, piano and emotional truth. This track is wisely followed by an upbeat I've Got The Sun In The Morning, showing a sensible track order, for people who listen to CDs straight through. The first track, Sentimental Journey, is typical of the whole CD, it opens with voice and light drums, has piano and guitar solos, call and response between voice and guitar, and a little tasteful scat added to the mix. Other tracks include Orange Coloured Sky; Shanghai; Day By Day; Love Me Or Leave Me; Perhaps, Perhaps; and the final track is a slow version of Secret Love. Enjoy!

The CD, due for release in September, actually showcases songs from a new musical play Secret Love, which is set to tour the UK this Autumn. The Play celebrates the life and music of Doris Day. For more details about Claudia Morris, the CD and the play, go to www.claudiamorris-music.com. P.S. Worth adding to your Xmas list.

Mike Read, BBC Radio Berkshire

At no stage is Secret Love dead wood - so move over darlings (and luvvies!) here comes Claudia Morris with her wonderful rich and expressive voice...

Nigel Williams, JazzFM

Supporting new music on the show at Jazz FM, Claudia Morris' album was passed to me by Christian Bragg -Head of Music. The first class musicianship and arrangements on Twelve O’Clock Tales surround Claudia’s voice, but allow the high polish of her voice to shine through. Taking a Chance on Love provides a welcome emotional uplift, whilst her interpretations of Carol King’s Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow exhibit an ability to change her singing style without losing her identity. Currently play listed on Jazz FM, Claudia is an exciting and rising star to watch.

Sue Marchant, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Passion and clarity delivered with a velvet voice, Claudia lights any stage.

Sarah Ward, Jazz FM

It’s a CD to take home and fall in love with.

Jazzwise

Every word possesses a bell-like clarity. These Twelve O'Clock Tales need telling some more. Featuring superior arrangements by Morris and pianist Simon Colam.

Reviewed online by Iain P W Robertson

Claudia Morris - Twelve O’Clock Tales (Album Review)
Jazz returnee, Claudia Morris, succeeds at filling a void in the classier end of the scene
5/5

Jazz is a guilty pleasure to an increasing number of younger people these days, which is far removed from its former smoky nightclub atmosphere, in back rooms packed with eyes-closed, balding, off-beat knee-tappers. Despite looking like a classier raven-haired alternative to Eastenders' ‘Kat Moon’, the shapely Claudia Morris possesses a delightfully sweet voice that rests happily with a strident popular jazz background sound.

Stephen Graham - Spice of Life

The Backstage setting in the Spice of Life basement music room of the London pub just yards from Shaftesbury Avenue was a fitting place to hear former West End stage singer Claudia Morris continue her fast developing jazz career.

Singing songs from Twelve O Clock Tales, her latest album for the Warmfuzz label, she was appearing with a five piece band that included baritone sax player Alex Garnett who appeared with Claudia at her outdoor Jazz in the Park gig back in September,  although the band was mainly different.

Stephen Graham, Jazzwise

"Former show singer Claudia Morris manages to inject a refreshing energy into some classic standards from the Great American Songbook. Taking its title from a line in Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’, which Morris covers admirably, new song ‘The Queen of Overthinking’ also hits the mark."

Bebop Spoken Here

I must confess that, until this CD landed in the passage, I'd never come across Ms Morris. My occasional trips to The Spice not coinciding with hers and she having spent 18 years away from 'The business'.

In her previous incarnation, I gather, Claudia performed in the West End and with touring companies before giving it all up to raise a family.

Fortunately, now that family is up and grown, she is able to concentrate on performing and this is her second album.

www.whisperinandhollerin.com

"The debut release by former West End performer Claudia Morris is delightful. Each track is laced with honesty and sincerity from a truly talented woman with a very interesting back story. Her return to music was confirmed by a poignant dream where she was faced with the scenario of drawing herself as sad or a singer- she chose the latter reaffirming that she really is destined to perform.

Stand out tracks include her fantastic take on Straight Up and Fly Right and the very moving The Rose. Available to buy now from January."

Daniel Elseph, The Review Centre

"With her west end performance background, Claudia brings added sensation to these already emotive covers and I particularly liked 'I've Never Been In Love Before.' Claudia's passion to perform enables her to truly capture the essence of the stage in this album. She is certainly returning to centre stage with 'Love & Demons', released in February 2010."

Review of Love & Demons

Janet Edwards, Music International Ltd

"Claudia Morris is remarkable. Not only has she a truly beautiful, rich and wonderfully expressive voice, which is already thrilling her audiences, but also she has an enormous drive and energy to create to her best.

In times of so-called 'instant fame', I find it deeply refreshing to know that she really stands to succeed because of her ability and dedication. The public know when they hear something good and it comes from those artists who are driven to create the most beautiful and polished performances.

The public are going to want a lot more of Claudia and I see Claudia going all the way."

www.janetedwards.co.uk

Tamsin Olivier

"Wow Claudia what a beautiful voice you have, full of range and poignancy. I'm thrilled you followed your dream, I find it very inspiring. So hoping to see you on the 27th."

Laurence Myers, West End Theatre Producer - Music Business Impresario

"Claudia has that rare quality, a voice that is a pleasure to listen to, whatever she chooses to sing.
She invests lyrics with a meaning that would thrill the lyricist.
Love and Demons is an eclectic mixture of mainly show songs that Claudia sprinkles with her own undoubted talent."

www.laurencemyers.com/