A kind of hush pervades throughout Standards Vol VI, the latest release by The National Jazz Trio of Scotland, the ironically named project helmed by Falkirk’s musical polymath, Bill Wells, that is neither a trio, nor a jazz band.
If this collection of ten covers probably comes closest to the latter in its late night renditions of actual standards, the presence of long-term NJToS member and collaborator Aby Vulliamy as the record’s lone vocalist adds to its solitary air.
This follows Standards Vol IV (2018), which featured fellow NJToS co-founder Kate Sugden as primary vocalist, while Gerard Black, a member of the group since 2016, took centre stage in similar fashion on Standards Vol V (2019).
Wells has long been a fan of Vulliamy, both of her work as a viola player with numerous collaborators, and as a singer.
Vulliamy played viola on Everything’s Getting Older, Wells’ 2011 collaboration with Arab Strap vocalist Aidan Moffat. Wells went on to play melodica on Vulliamy’s solo record, Spin Cycle, released on Karaoke Kalk in 2018.
With the intent of producing the saddest heartbreak record ever made, Wells sourced a back catalogue of miniature epics, reinterpreting each tale of everyday yearning to make a canon of melancholy loungecore designed for nights in alone, if not always lonely.