CLAIRE JONES QUARTET
25 March 2017
The once a month jazz session at the Angel Inn continued with vocalist Claire Jones singing a mixture of jazz staples, standard songs and popular material in front of a group with flugelhorn, guitar and rhythm. She began with a Beatle song, Can't Buy Me Love, not as unusual as you might think, as their compositions have been adapted for jazz interpretation by many instrumentalists and singers over the years. Following on with Sway and then September In The Rain, these proved to be much more suitable for her intimate jazz stylings.
Claire Jones bends and twists notes as she improvises in much the same manner as an instrumentalist. She will run through the lyric of a selection and then scat through it briskly before returning to the words to finish. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise worked well and seemed to suit her style of delivery. She was also in her element on Anthropology, a Charlie Parker line where her brisk vocal was enhanced by Lloyd Payne's tart, compact flugelhorn solo. Tom Sim played supporting chords on guitar and added solo spots to the proceedings. He even added voice to Claire's vocal on Hit The Road Jack although his microphone wasn't functioning too well at that point. Electric bassist Wulf Forrester-Barker and drummer Jim Wade provided the main rhythmic thrust. On The Sunny Side of The Street featured a good vocal and a mellow flugelhorn segment.
Claire used a wide variety of vocal effects in her programme and was impressive in her use of high and low register notes. Sometimes her changes of volume seemed a little abstract or unusual but this may have been due to the way she moved the microphone backwards and forwards while holding it. Maybe leaving it on the stand and singing into it would have made for more consistency in sound levels. Overall though her jazz chops are in good order and she was well supported by the backing band.
This review is reproduced with the kind permission of the Newbury Weekly News, where it was first published.