Over the past 3 decades Swing Out Sister have created a sound which is more relevant now than ever before. Corinne Drewery & Andy Connell were original purveyors of the jazz infused pop which broadened the chart’s spectrum making way for UK success acts such as Amy Winehouse, and Adele.
Always ahead of their game and open to creative change, Swing Out Sister celebrate the eclectic cultural mix of the UK’s constantly changing music scene, with a sound that owes as much to hip hop and jazz fusion as the well-crafted arrangements of sixties pop and soul. Now they are back after a decade and proud to announce the release of their 10th studio album, Almost Persuaded, on June 22nd.
Arriving in the mid eighties, Swing Out Sister stood out with their unique signature style of sophisticated cinematic jazz, as synth pop merged with dance, house and acid house as a new jazz generation keen to rediscover Blue Note & Verve Pacific Jazz classics championed by DJs such as Gilles Peterson, Paul Murphy & Colin Curtis emerged out of the underground club scene as bands including A Certain Ratio, Blue Rondo a la Turk, Kalima, Working Week, Incognito, Sade and the Style Council brought these jazz influences to the fore.
Born in Nottingham, singer Corinne Drewery moved to London in 1977 to study fashion design at Central St. Martin’s, alongside a certain Sade Adu who was in the same year.
A chance meeting at Manchester’s legendary Hacienda Club brought Corinne together with keyboard player Andy Connell, who had previously proved his musical capabilities with the post industrial funk of Factory Record’s A Certain Ratio.
The band started out when early hip hop and sampling had started to influence the mainstream, and along with third member, drummer Martin Jackson, they discovered their loves and influences were the scores of John Barry, Ennio Morricone & Isaac Hayes, the Jazz of Weather Report and Airto Moreira, and Brill Building pop classics penned by Bacharach and David, Goffin and King and many others that brought to the fore singers such as Dionne Warwick and The Walker Brothers. Throw in a cellar full of Motown and some Northern soul stompers and you might come close to the inspiration that goes into a Swing out Sister song....
Their first LP, 1987’s It’s Better To Travel, was an instant number one in the UK album charts following the release of singles Blue Mood, Surrender, Twilight World and the hugely successful Breakout, which hit 4 in the UK singles charts as well as charting worldwide and earning the band two Grammy nominations.
It was their second album, 1989’s euphoric Kaleidoscope World which firmly established their lounge credentials, with such beautiful songs as You On My Mind, (featuring Clare Torry, the voice of Pink Floyd’s Great Gig in the Sky, on backing vocals) Forever Blue, Where In The World, and Coney Island Man. The legendary composer Jimmy Webb joined them to arrange the songs Forever Blue and Precious Words. This now critically acclaimed album confirmed Corinne and Andy's song writing skills, along with producer Paul Staveley O’Duffy.
Get In Touch with Yourself, album number three, followed with a more groove led soulful feel, a nod in the direction of Blaxploitation soundtracks and featuring a cover of Barbara Acklin's ‘Am I the Same Gir” l and featuring a club remix collaboration with Frankie Knuckles on Notgonnachange, which gave the band a dance floor classic. The album topped the adult contemporary chart in the US.
The Living Return, album number four, saw the band collaborate with producer Ray Hayden (Opaz Records), resulting in a more streetwise sound and featuring many of Swing Out Sister's touring band members:- bassist Juneroy Johnson (52nd Street) , drummer Myke Wilson (Jazz Defektors) Calypsonian Tim Cansfield on Guitar, trumpet player John Thirkell and singers Sylvia Mason-James and Erica Harold, with whom they had just recorded Live at the Jazz Cafe, showing their soul jazz credentials and establishing a loyal live following worldwide. The album features the single La-La Means I Love You, a Delfonics cover, which was also included in the soundtrack to Four Weddings and A Funeral.
Shapes and Patterns showcased their love of vocal harmony, bringing arrangements to the fore with the title song and also featuring a cover of Laura Nyro's Stoned Soul Picnic. SOS were awarded a Japanese Grand Prix Award (Grammy) for the song Now You’re Not Here, the theme song to a tv drama and a hit in the Japanese domestic charts.
Filth and Dreams their sixth album further proved how versatile SOS were, with an earthier Brazilian feel with Latin beats and more intimate vocals, and showing a darker, closer side to Swing Out Sister.
Somewhere Deep in the Night, the seventh album, was conceived in the French Alps and released in 2001. With its haunting harmonies and soaring string arrangements, this album was more experimental, with several instrumental tracks showcasing Andy’s arrangements, further songwriting collaborations with Paul Staveley O’ Duffy, and an air of the scores of French composers Francis Lai and Michel Legrand.
Where Our Love Grows, the eighth studio album received glowing reviews with GQ Magazine calling it “indisputably their finest record to date”, fusing jazz, soul, Latin & R&B into classic songs, with samples of Roger Nichols and Herbie Mann featured on When the Laughter is Over (which became a favourite of the Chicago Steppers for their dance-off competitions...) and the Esquivel-esque Caipirinha.
In 2008 SOS released Beautiful Mess, their first self-produced album, a blend of soulful grooves and vocal arrangements, incorporating vocal and song writing collaborations with Gina Foster and also featuring more of the band’s touring members, Tim Cansfield, on guitar, and percussionist Jody Linscott (Kokomo, Average White Band, The Who). The album was well received by soul connoisseurs in the UK and reached the top five in the Jazz Album charts in the US.
In between studio albums Swing Out Sister have toured internationally, including appearances at Jazz Festivals in the US and Far East, and have released several live albums featuring the band’s ever changing touring repertoire:- Live At The Jazz Cafe, Live in Tokyo and Private View. There is also a Swing Out Sister big band album on the way, featuring members of the London Jazz Orchestra including flugelhorn player Noel Langley, trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, trombonists Pete Beechill and Becky Smith and saxophonist Pat Clahar amongst others.
In between studio commitments Andy is involved in Manchester City Sports podcasts, and has composed several tv theme tunes and short film scores, meanwhile Corinne occasionally DJs and co hosts Vision On, experimental happenings involving creating art to music....
After ten years Swing Out Sister return with their tenth studio album Almost Persuaded, continuing to promote the band’s commitment to authenticity and sophisticated musical choices. The description cinematic soul aptly fits the sonic landscape of the album, yet there is still an edge to the timeless quality of the sound that they make, which somehow manages to be simultaneously classic, and yet undeniably contemporary.
Almost Persuaded will be released on June 22nd on Miso Music/ Absolute