Album: Rickie Lee Jones

The Evening of My Best Day, V2
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Her first studio outing since 1997's trip-hop-flavoured Ghostyhead finds Rickie Lee Jones back on more familiar jazz-blues turf, with a series of elegantly atmospheric performances which in several cases approximate the offhand sleekness of Steely Dan - none more so than "Second Chance", a leafy summertime lilt shaded with languid horns, which even includes mention of Countdown to Ecstasy. Its lyric, however, is more indicative of the political concerns firing Jones's muse these days, with dismissive contempt dripping from lines like "They are very rich, those boys uptown/ They got so much now they want to let it trickle down". The point is pursued further on "Ugly Man", an unequivocal condemnation of George Bush set to a lovely brushed-snare jazz shuffle burnished with warm horns and liquid guitar fills, and the self-explanatory "Tell Somebody (Repeal the Patriot Act)", a blues boogie criticising the Bush administration's attacks on civil liberties, and its uncritical acceptance by the American media. Musically, The Evening of My Best Day is up there with her finest work, its arrangements ranging from the gossamer-light Latinate jazz-fusion of "Bitchenostrophy" to the dobro, bowed dulcimer and tambourine of the sophisticated country-blues "Lap Dog" and the studied woodwind and strings of "A Tree on Allenford". A sterling return to top form.