Another in long line of A&R successes for Jalapeno Records, Izo FitzRroy is someone you can expect to hear a lot more in the future as the effects of her debut album reverberate outwards. Positively dripping with soul, jazz and blues influences, Skyline reflects experience gained by FitzRoy from touring in the Deep South of the USA and touring with the likes of Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen. And it doesn’t hurt either that it has been produced by long-time Jalapeno signing Dr Rubberfunk who was only supposed to collaborate with FitzRoy on Day By Day – though clearly twelve tracks later – there had been something of a meeting of minds.
Monster debut single Here I Come came out back in the early autumn last year and was indicative of the album in multiple ways – the lyrical themes of standing firm in the face of adversity, the combination of soaring soul-blues melodies over Rubberfunk’s rolling breakbeats and, of course, that stadium-filling voice. The PR blah has it that FitzRoy is influenced by Janis Joplin as well as contemporaries such as Susan Tedeschi though a good contemporary likeness can also be found in the similar (but less jazzy) contralto of Australian songstress Kylie Auldist.
Generically, the LP covers soul jazz (Heads Held High), jazz funk (Say Something), blues funk and all points in between – and pretty much any one of the tracks on it could be a single. Highlights include the Lauryn Hill-ish moody piano-led jazzy soul of Skyline, smouldering opener Day By Day, the life-affirming Phoenix and of course, the massive Here I Come. Izo FitzRoy then, the Skyline definitely won’t be the limit.
(Out now on Jalapeno Records)