Amnplify by Melanie Griffiths

‘The Art Of Collaboration’ Album Review by Amnplify

‘The Art Of Collaboration’
Album Review

(19th May 2022)

Reviewer – Melanie Griffiths

Photo – Graham Jepson

“The music and the holy input of each and every artist is something I’m incredibly proud of, and it’s an honour to lead such a cohort.” Simone Waddell

“Simone Waddell has taken a classic Phil Buckle song and made it her own. I was excited when I was asked to play on this recording. I knew the song well, but enjoyed being taken down some other routes on this journey into Burn For You…” Tommy Emmanuel

“As soon as I heard this piece (My Diamond) the greatest compliment that I can ever give a song is, as soon as I hear it, I go, I want to play on that, I want to play that song, and that’s what I thought right away. It just creates a mood instantly.” James Morrison




Simone Waddell presents a stunning collection of contemporary jazz songs with her latest album release “The Art Of Collaboration”. The jazz singer and songwriter has collaborated with a ‘who’s who’ list of legendary Australian players and brought them all together in an album that features over 60 jazz musicians. Not only that, “The Art Of Collaboration” is truly worldly having been recorded across 16 studios in Australia, USA and England. It’s a massive album that shows the jazz chanteuse’s incredible musical talent and her ability to shine a spotlight on how fresh and enticing contemporary jazz can be.

Never Be Shaken

As an opening song, “Never Be Shaken” oozes with sparkling charm and Simone’s luscious vocals. A great introduction to the album, the song displays polished production with the jazzy arrangement of the instruments shining through. Even though unlikely “Never Be Shaken” sounds so good and sharp it could very well be mistaken for a live recording. It’s not surprising then to find the album was mixed and mastered by Grammy award winners Erik Zobler, George Massenburg and Paul Blackmore.

Burn For You
feat. Rai Thistlethwayte and Tommy Emmanuel

There are some true heavy hitters on this album and the legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel begins his interpretation of John Farnhams’ ARIA award-winning song “Burn For You”, the emotional intensity is high even before Simone begins singing. The song is an endearing classic for many and Simone imparts a sense of quiet longing into the song making it her own creation. The addition of singer Rai Thistlethwayte now also crafts an interesting twist in the song by setting “Burn For You” as a conversation between lovers. Less melodramatic and maudlin than the original, Simone’s version bubbles with a heated passion.


If you had to reinterpret an INXS song in the contemporary jazz style then it’s hard to go by the swagger of “Mystify”. In the hands of Simone, she’s taken the pop-rock song from INXS’ 1987 iconic record “Kick” and turned it into a speak-easy jazz dance number. The song has a swinging beat and features not only Simone’s honeyed voice but also siren-esque backing singers and a few horn solos thrown in for good measure. It’s a “Mystify” version that embodies the mystique of Michael Hutchinson but flips the script to design a jazz number of intrigue.

Call Those Things

Call Your Things is Simone’s chance to let loose and show off her vocal skills. Displaying a lot of vocal control, “Call Those Things” has a contemporary tempo with an R’n’B rhythm creeping in around the jazz edges. There is a deep groove that runs underneath the melody of the song and it will have you moving in your chair. It’s the kind of song that makes you feel a little too cool as you bop your head along but that is sometimes the pleasant effect of listening to jazz.

My Diamond

Simone brings in sublime jazz singer Pat Powell and trumpet extraordinaire James Morrison. Essentially a duet, Pat and Simone sing together with ease as they meld their voices around each other in an intoxicating way. James’ inclusion is featured a laidback trumpet solo that fuels the affection that Pat and Simone build towards “My Diamond’s” end.

Beds Are Burning
feat. Barry Leef

Beginning with a stirring spoken intro from a First Nations person, this version of “Beds Are Burning” is a complete surprise in its approach. It’s dramatic but not in the driving rock way of the Midnight Oil original, instead, Simone has decided to infuse jazz and rock to create a sound that is more organic and uniquely Aussie sounding. Joining her on the track is classic rock performer Barry Leef and his edgier voice gives the track a needed rougher texture and the inclusion of a didgeridoo is also fantastic. A standout song that is the standout track on the album.

Fall At Your Feet

What another great song Simone has crafted here. She’s taken a classic that is held so closely by many Aussie fans and entirely changed the vibe into an enticing song that captures you from the first listen. “Fall At Your Feet” exudes sensuality rather than the feeling of being in a tumultuous love. Simone’s version revels in the pleasure of surrender. The vocals are also almost otherworldly as the harmonies come in and out like a gentle breeze. This one is meant to be played as soon as you get home from a rough day with a glass of wine.


Icing is an upbeat jazz number that gives Simone a chance to flex her vocal skills once again. Beginning with her scatting along with a saxophone whilst the plucky percussive rhythm hooks you in, this song is brimming with joy. Perhaps the most dance-worthy track on the album, “Icing” never stays too long in one stop as it merrily skips along. A fun song that shows another side of Simone’s persona and her talent in being able to deliver a multifaceted performance.

The Horses

This might be a song that may now be regulated to impassioned drunken renditions at weddings and parties but in the hands of Simone, it becomes something so much more refined. The respect Simone shows for these songs is clear by the intentional way she seeks to create something unique in the arrangement and mood to make the song hers, whilst respecting the legacy of the original. A little more subdued than Daryl Braithwaite’s version, Simone’s “The Horses” tempo wraps up the listener in comfort and her approach is quite beautiful.

You Have Become My Home
feat. Paul Grabowsky

Another Australian jazz legend makes an appearance on “The Art Of Collaboration”, with notable musician Paul Grabowsky lending his piano talents to the understated “You Have Become My Home”. Another example of Simone pulling back to let others take the spotlight, this song feels like a satiating tonic for stress.

Slow Down

We head into the final act with “Slow Down”, with the tempo of this track gently bringing us back down to Earth. “Slow Down” is a song about resilience and the need to take a break and take stock of what’s going on around you. Even though this again is Simone’s brand of contemporary jazz, she adds in a surprising element with a reggae flourish towards the end of the track before she goes into her closing mantra of “slow down”.

My Diamond

Listening to this vulnerable “My Diamond” version, it may appear to be about a lover but perhaps the song’s inspiration lies closer to home for Simone and her love affair with music. Either way, “My Diamond” is a lovely conclusion and its ambiguous meaning will connect with the listener. Fitting as well that as she closes out this collection of songs, we are left with the simple presentation of her honeyed voice, a piano and double bass. Simone croons “I’m living my dream come true” and we believe it, more so because she has successfully been able to show us the beauty that she feels in her world.

This is contemporary jazz presented at its finest showing not only Simone Waddell’s expertise and passion for the genre but more importantly how vibrant and immensely talented our Aussie jazz players and contributors are. “The Art Of Collaboration” stands proudly as an example of what a great Australian album should sound like.


Simone Waddell


01. Never Be Shaken
02. Burn For You feat. Rai Thistlethwayte and Tommy Emmanuel
03. Mystify
04. Call Those Things
05. My Diamond feat. Pat Powell and James Morrison
06. Beds Are Burning feat. Barry Leef
07. Fall At Your Feet
08. Icing
09. The Horses
10. You Have Become My Home feat. Paul Grabowsky
11. Slow Down
12. My Diamond (Ballad)




Press Release April 2022 - HERE


The new contemporary jazz studio album
from Simone Waddell

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