His 2011 debut ‘Rush Of Love’ was Mitch returning to his first love, the Winehouse musical DNA that fuelled daughter Amy and spoke elegantly of a deep love of jazz and swing classics.
That sharp taste and quality control continues on ‘But Beautiful’ a collection of effortlessly performed and lovingly selected standards and a stunning new track.
Co-produced by Grant Black (songwriter for acts as diverse as Run DMC, Sarah Brightman Alicia Keys) and his brother and A&R legend Clive, Grammy nominated James MacMillan is also on production duty.
Grant and Clive’s father, Oscar winning lyricist Don Black, contributes new song ‘Never Too Far From A Song’ a big band tribute to the love of music that sits perfectly alongside the classics.
The album mixes the likes of the finger snapping Learning The Blues (a Sinatra triumph, also shared on duet by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong) and then reflects with title track ‘But Beautiful’ – famously sung in the 1947 movie Road To Rio by Bing Crosby. Several Antonio Carlos Jobim bossa novas complete the mood.
Original or cover, every song tells a personal story and showcases little known jazz and swing gems that Mitch and Amy originally researched together for Rush Of Love.
“These songs are universal, they can be about any relationship,” says Mitch, “a love song doesn’t have to be about your wife or your lover. They can be about your children. ‘Meditation’ is a great song and I sing it to Amy. She used to wonder how anyone could write a song like that, there’s such turmoil and beauty.”
Then there is the surprising opening track, a cover of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Suit & Tie’, which takes some time to recognise as Mitch expertly immerses the song into the big band jazz ethic.
All of Mitch’s proceeds from the album, just like those of his live work, will go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, set up in his daughter’s name after her tragic passing in 2011.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. It also aims to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential.
Music has become central to their work, and ‘supporting the personal development of disadvantaged young people through music’ is one of their key areas of focus. Their Amy’s Yard programme set up in Amy’s own studio, provides talented young people the opportunity to take part in a 3-month accredited programme working one to one with a professional producer, while attending a series of master classes with industry professionals, helping them gain the skills and confidence to become self sustaining music artists.
The Foundation has also piloted ‘Camden Music Works’ in partnership with Camden Council and Westminster Kingsway College, a work experience programme providing placements for unemployed young people within the music industry.
There are numerous studios and music therapy rooms that have been funded by the Foundation, supporting severely disabled children and vulnerable young people to access and make music.
“Music is the best medicine in the world,” Mitch argues, “My thinking has really changed in the last 5 or 6 years when Amy got ill, then got better and then passed away. Now I’m not just singing a song, I’m singing to make myself feel better, to make other people feel better. When we go to children’s hospices, these kids are so profoundly disabled they can’t see or hear but they can feel the beat. They can feel the vibrations, that’s how powerful music can be.
“This music has always been my therapy.”
- Suit & Tie
- Learning The Blues
- Never Too Far From A Song
- Please Baby Don’t
- But Beautiful
- Nearness Of You
- Only The Lonely
- I’m A Fool
- We’ll Be Together Again
- Once I Loved You