If you can't get to Ronnie Scott's and you are longing for something special to chill out to at home, pour a large glass of your favourite wine , pop this album on, & you are as good as there... Lynn Parsons, Jazz FM


As a songwriter herself, Tamsin has always enjoyed including less -well-known material in her jazz repertoire.  ‘Under Your Spell’ was a great opportunity for her to record some of her favourite discoveries with some of her favourite musicians, and a good time was had by all in studio.

The title track, ‘Under Your Spell’, is an original lyric written by Tamsin which Geoff Castle has set to a tailor-made tune.  This song was their second collaboration, after Tamsin wrote lyrics to an existing tune by Geoff, ‘Time to Say Goodbye’, which she happened to hear saxophonist Tim Whitehead playing at a gig.

‘I’ve Got Beginner’s Luck’ is a cheery number by the Gershwin brothers, which was premiered by Fred Astaire in the 1937 movie ‘Shall We Dance?’.  It sounds simple, but there’s a slight kick to it – the chorus being only 28 bars long instead of the usual 32 (pass the anorak...)  

‘The Gentleman is a Dope’ comes from an experimental show called ‘Allegro’, by Rogers and Hammerstein, which was a legendary Broadway flop in 1947.  Director Agnes de Mille’s husband commented that the premier went over ‘like a wet firecracker’.  At the first tryout the scenery collapsed, a dancer got his tap caught in the stage and tore a ligament, the fire alarm went off mid-performance, and one of the leading ladies fell into the orchestra pit while singing this very song.   We thought it deserved salvaging from the wreckage and have turned it into a sultry rhumba.

‘So What Became of Love?’ is Tamsin’s own translation of the original French lyric to Charles Trenet’s 1942 classic ‘Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours?’  This song became part of the jazz standards canon under the English title ‘I Wish You Love’ (a lyric which bears no relation to the French text).  She has since been commissioned to provide lyric translations for fellow jazz singers Gabrielle Ducomble and Mark Jennett.  

‘ Lullabye in Ragtime’ is by Sylvia Fine, the only female composer featured on the album.  Sylvia Fine was married to Danny Kaye and wrote many of his famous ‘patter’ songs, such as ‘The Maladjusted Jester’ and ‘Anatole of Paris’.  This 3-part number was written for the 1959 Red Nichols biopic ‘The Five Pennies’ and was originally sung by Kaye, Louis Armstrong and Susan Gordon.  Our version features a duet for Tamsin and Geoff, with the third line taken by Steve Waterman on trumpet as a nod to Mr. Nichols. 

‘Change Partners’ is an Irving Berlin number, written for another Astaire/Rogers picture, ‘Carefree’ (1938).  Originally a laid-back quick-step, we have re-arranged it here as a light bossa.  An impressively economic piece of storytelling, wrapped up in a single verse, and surely one of Berlin’s most beautiful melodies.

‘Opportunity Please Knock’ was written by American jazz legend Oscar Brown Junior for the 1967 musical of the same name.  Brown’s most famous hits include ‘Afro Blue’, ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Work Song’ , but this is one of Tamsin’s personal favourites. 

‘You Turned the Tables on Me’ is a song by Louis Alter and Sidney D. Mitchell, introduced by Alice Faye in 1936.  Sarah Vaughn’s barnstorming big band version originally caught Tamsin’s interest, and the neatness of the verse appealed to the lyricist in her.   

‘I Told You So’.  The third of the three European songs on this album was written by living UK jazz legend Duncan Lamont.   Our recording of this inky dark ballad features some glorious flugel horn playing from Steve Waterman.

‘You’re Making Me Crazy’.  A cheerful, upbeat number by Ray Alfred and Bill Darlell, this was released on the 1955 album ‘Something Cool’ by one of Tamsin’s favourite jazz singers, June Christie, with a sassy big band arrangement.  Stripped down for a singer and trio, the song still retains much of its energy and charm.

‘Glad to be Unhappy’ comes from the 1936 Rogers and Hart show ‘On Your Toes’.   Originally a straight ballad, our version turns it into a gentle, lilting waltz.

‘Caramba! It’s the Samba!’. This bouncy Latin number by Edward Pola, Irving Taylor and George Wyle was originally recorded by Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour and The Brazillians in Nov 1947, and reached No.13 in the US hit parade.  Good-natured, breezy fun, it seems to have been completely overlooked since then.  We had a lot of fun reviving it for the closing track on this album.