What they're saying...
"A dynamic quintet spearheaded by the saxophone extraordinaire Dave Coules, Fifth Element have been plugging away since 2016 with their collective strength that radiates timeless jazz qualities amid much creativity.
“I Can’t Believe That You’re Still In Love With Me” starts the listen with punchy drumming from Glenn Anderson and a snappy climate, as Nina Richmond’s pretty pipes guide the memorable jazz opener, and “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” follows with sublime balladry, where the gorgeous singing is complemented by Coules’ proficient tenor sax prowess.
Further down the line, “The Gentle Rain” displays Dale Scaife’s skilled piano work as the elegance from Richmond and soulful sax set the mood, while “There Will Never Be Another You” bounces with an infectious energy of swift drumming, well timed keys and bright sax. “The Look Of Love” then gets romantic, as Richmond’s vocals soar high and Ron Johnston’s effective bass adds much to the dreamy delivery.
“My Romance” and “My Shining Hour” exit the listen, where the former is a soft and gentle display of lightly textured beauty, and the latter bursts into a frisky jazz finish that’s as fun as it is meticulous.
An outfit known for their stunning live performances, these 12 tracks certainly capture their undeniable chemistry, and the top notch songwriting settles in quite nicely on the first listen, though I hardly doubt you’ll only listen once."
Tom Haugen, Take Effect Reviews
"... I certainly found a great deal to enjoy here, including the vocals of Nina Richmond; not a flashy singer, she is unconcerned to be different for the sake of difference and is never in any way gimmicky; her attention to the lyrics brings genuine insight to her performances of standards such as ‘There Will Never Be Another You’ and ‘The Look of Love’ on both of which she makes one really believe the sentiments expressed in the songs..."
Glyn Pursglove, Music Web International
click here to read the full review
"Upbeat swinging sounds and optimistic vocals are delivered by the live-sounding team of Dale Scaife/p, Dave Coules/ts, Glenn Anderson/dr, Ron Johnston/b and girl-next-door vocalist Nina Richmond.
Coules has a big and vintage sound on his tenor sax, and blows like a big band bopper on his solos as on the hip “I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me” and on his bel canto intro to “My Romance”. Johnston lays down a nice cadence for “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” while Anderson brings rich brush work to “Days of Wine And Roses” and a whirlwind intro duet with the confident Richmond on the fun “I Love Being Here With You”. Richmond is clear and bright throughout, swaying to a Latinized “It Might As Well Be Spring” and glowing with Scaife on “More Than You Know”. Working class wonders."
George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
"At the head of the Canadian jazz quintet, Fifth Element, is the experienced conductor and tenor saxophonist, Dave Coules. But, despite his routine and obvious ability to surround himself with good powers - such as singer Nina Richmond, pianist Dale Scaife, bassist Ron Johnston and drummer Glenn Anderson - it is only now, five years after the formation of the ensemble, that Coules' fifth element plate debuts. But what does it do? The wait has been worth it all. The twelve standards that the ensemble takes care of are in fact superbly arranged by Coules and just as superbly redeemed by his ensemble. Both the collective and individual quality emerge, so songs from The Great American Songbook - songs like Henry Mancini's and Johnny Mercer's Days of Wine and Roses , Richard Rodgers' and Lorenz HartsMy Romance and Peggy Lees and Bill Schlugers I Love Being Here With You are redeemed with intact nerves, with soul and sensuality. And, although I should refrain from highlighting some of the musicians over others, I would still mention Nina Richmond! Her authenticity. Combined with Dave Coules' glow. It's sweet music."
Ivan Rod (Denmark)
“What sets Fifth Element apart … is singer Nina Richmond’s dynamic, subtly electrifying, insightful interpretations…”
New York Music Daily
"Congratulations to Fifth Element on your thrilling debut album! Your musical conversations are inventive and playful, and I love hearing Nina’s voice up close, front and centre, where all the nuances of phrasing are captured for our pleasure. I especially liked your take on "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square"… Ron's bass line and Nina’s singing are beautiful together. I also loved the energy and sassy personality of "I Love Being Here With You"!
Looking forward to many repeat samplings in this calorie-free box of ear-candy 🍬! Thanks for all the treats, and we cannot wait for the chance to hear Fifth Element LIVE someday, hopefully soon."
Deirdre Kelly, Editor in Chief, The York University Magazine: https://magazine.yorku.ca/issues/fall-2019/shes-with-the-band/
"Fifth Element recently performed at my surprise birthday party. Everyone loved the music and Nina’s voice is a treat to listen to! The group is a perfect size for a house party and I highly recommend them!"
"I would like to offer a resounding thank you to Nina and Dale for their outstanding end of summer performance. The residents of Delmanor Wynford were treated to an evening of smooth jazz and swinging standards. Dale’s solid musicianship along with Nina’s bright vocals provided an all-around fantastic atmosphere. It was a pleasure to have the two of you with us, and I look forward to our next meeting."
Sal Di Matteo, LivingWell Coordinator, Delmanor Wynford
"Thanks so much for your message and also for your wonderful performance last week. The residents were glowing in their feedback. We would love to have you back again."
"Now for the evening of vocals as a major part of the program of Big Band music: Nina, you were superb in voice and presentation skills with this vast selection of music. I would have enjoyed the many rehearsal sessions to appreciate all the exchange of ideas with the members of the Band. But the highlight of the evening for us was ..."All That Jazz". Outstanding vocals and presentation, Nina!"
"You make a lot of people happy when you sing - I can see/feel it! Xoxo"
"Nina, I have been at your gigs when you sang beautifully. But all that was eclipsed yesterday at the concert. I have never heard you in finer voice."
"Wow! That was a fantastic concert yesterday. You sound terrific, look great and are obviously having a great time! Thanks for sharing your talent Nina. You certainly brought a lot of joy to a few hundred people at the Rex Hotel yesterday. I had a blast!"
"...Anyone who knows Nina, knows about her voice. People who don’t know Nina, know about her voice. I recently said of another artist “he had a good voice, but he was a great singer.” Nina is a great singer, and she has a great voice. That was true when she sang in school shows, or around the house, or in the car, or at her wedding (a sweet version of “Someone to Watch Over Me”). It was true when she sang at my wedding.It’s still true... What does she sound like? Well, if I asked you to tell me what crème brûlée tasted like, you could fumble about with words. Or you could just tell me: try the damned crème brûlée!..."
David Law, excerpts from https://davidkeithlaw.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/what-love-sounds-like/
"Nina; we just finished listening to your performance on Jazz. FM at 6:05 PM tonight !!!!!!! Your performance was superb and it was easy to visualize how you would have performed this song live at Seven44 in front of a "full-house" !! A lot of swing !!!! great pace and feeling for the lyrics !!! ; but the ending was your best yet !!!!!! Oh yes, your band was excellent and confident !!!!! I don't want to over-state how much I enjoyed it but it is great to say that " yes, I've seen them / her live several times."