Honor Heffernan and Trevor Knight: The Whistling Girl – bringing Dorothy Parker’s dark wit to life

The Whistling Girl
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Artist: Honor Heffernan, Trevor Knight
Genre: Jazz
Label: Self-released

It's not like Honor Heffernan has anything to prove. For the last three decades, she's been Ireland's pre-eminent jazz singer, a riveting performer who matches emotional authenticity with musical craft.

Her previous solo recordings – such as 2005's excellent Fire and Ice – have been song collections, snapshots of a talented singer slowly maturing, but here is something altogether more ambitious.

A set of original songs, based on the words of poet and society wit Dorothy Parker, The Whistling Girl is the love child of the singer's new relationship, onstage and off, with Trevor Knight.

The ex-Auto Da Fé keyboardist's settings of Parker's ruminations on life and death, love and sexual politics, performed by a talented group of musicians, combine the arch strut of Weimar cabaret and the sass of Rocky Horror with 80s synth-pop and contemporary art-rock.

The results are pure theatre – New York critics raved when the live show debuted there last month – but even on record, Parker's dark wit, Knight's memorable tunes, and Heffernan's unerring ability to make words come to life are a winning combination, making The Whistling Girl as fresh and original a collection of songs as you'll hear this year.