Jazz is a wide musical world and two gigs tomorrow (Friday), both by singers, stress just how rich and varied it is.
Representing the showbiz, nostalgic side of jazz is Clare Teal who is appearing in Lichfield Cathedral on the opening night of the Lichfield Festival, while holding a candle for contemporary artistic jazz is Christine Tobin at The Red Lion in Birmingham.
Clare Teal’s show is called The Divas and Me! and in it she pays tribute to her musical heroines, among them Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee. She will be fronting her Mini Big Band, led by pianist Grant Windsor.
The concert starts at 7.30pm, tickets range from £11 up to £23 and you can find more information as well as book online at lichfieldfestival.org
I saw Christine Tobin and her two instrumentalists, guitarist Phil Robson and double bassist Dave Whitford perform her programme of Leonard Cohen songs earlier this year in a packed village community hall just outside Derby.
It was simply superb – one of the most enjoyable and insightful gigs I’ve been to in the last year.
Christine sings Cohen like nobody else and her treatments of songs we thought we all knew so thoroughly bring out unexpected and enriching new revelations.
For example, she tackles the most famous Cohen song, Suzanne, at an unexpectedly brisk pace and in the process transforms it magically into something new.
The richness of her timbre, the subtlety of her phrasing and the intelligence of her interpretations make her a truly great singer, whatever the genre.
In addition to the Cohen songs, which are the subject of her latest album, A Thousand Kisses Deep, we might be treated to Joni Mitchell’s The Priest, or Billie Holiday’s God Bless The Child, or even Bobby Gentry’s Ode To Billie Joe. And since Christine’s previous albums have included a reworking of Carole King’s Tapestry, and her own settings of W B Yeats’ poems, don’t be surprised if some of those crop up as well.
Robson and Whitford are superbly supportive and inventive musicians and this trio really is a perfectly formed thing.
The Christine Tobin Trio are at The Red Lion in the Jewellery Quarter. Tickets are £12 (£10 for members) and it’s a 7.45pm start. More information and booking (strongly advised as this one could be a sell-out) for this Birmingham Jazz gig is at birminghamjazz.co.uk
* The great tradition of Monday night big band gigs in jazz clubs is familiar to frequenters of the Village Vanguard and Jazz Standard in New York. It’s a tradition echoed once a month by The Yardbird in central Birmingham, where the Dunnett/Baxter Big Band have a residency.
Started in 2012 by trombonists Tom Dunnett and Tom Baxter, the personnel is flexible and made up mostly of Birmingham Conservatoire students and graduates. It’s usually at least 14 strong, which is sure to create a really healthy brass blast in the intimate setting of The Yardbird.
The music starts shortly after 8pm, entry is free, and it goes on till late.