Emilia Martensson is a vocalist, composer, and educator at the University of Southampton. She recommends five albums to listen to whilst on lockdown.

In these challenging times we need music more than ever. While live gigs are cancelled we want to shine a spotlight on the jazz community in the South. We’ve been in contact with artists, venues, and promoters to ask them for their listening recommendations.

1) Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley – Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley

This was the album that made me fall in love with jazz. A teacher at my school, who is also a professional jazz drummer in Sweden where I grew up, gave it to me and asked me to learn some of the songs to perform with a jazz ensemble in the school. ‘Never Will I Marry’, ‘Save Your Love for Me’, ‘The Old Country’ and ‘Happy Talk’ were the first jazz tunes I performed live. The sound of Nancy’s voice, her phrasing and the interaction between her and the Saxophone, played by Cannonball Adderley, felt so exciting. The idea of having a conversation in music this way was so compelling to a 15 year old me.

2) Louise Hoffsten, Lasse Englund, Esbjorn Svensson Trio – Kära Du

This is a beautiful album of Swedish Folk songs. I love the arrangements and their playful and colourful approach. I especially like track 12, ‘Akvarell’, where Louise starts laughing spontaneously in the middle of the song. Instead of stopping, the laughter gets weaved in to the piano solo.  This album has had a huge influence on me as it weaves Swedish folk melodies together with the ‘jazz approach’ of having more open arrangements, a richer harmonic language, and deep grooves.

3) Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald sings The Cole Porter Song book

If I had to choose an all time favourite singer I think I would have to say Ella Fitzgerald. I love how playful and free she is in her singing. I find her to always pay tribute to the songs in terms of how the composer intended them to be sung before she flips them around to use them as her playground. This album was one I got in to whilst doing my jazz degree. I fell in love with Cole Porter as much as with Ella.

4) Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert

A live recording by pianist Keith Jarrett where he is improvising a whole set of music. This is my favourite record to put on, as loud as possible, first thing whilst drinking my morning coffee.

5) Sidsel Endresen and Bugge Wesseltoft – Duplex Ride 

A stunning duo album. I love the easy open flow between the pair. There is such adversity in terms of sounds, structures, and choice of repertoire. The way Sidsel handles text and uses her voice to create different textures and sounds has been another huge influence on me.

You can find Emilia’s music on her website and bandcamp page. This is our final piece in the Stay at Home Soundtrack series. We hope you have enjoyed it – please do sign up to our mailing list and keep an eye out on social media to hear all about what we’ve got planned next.