LEA LYLE QUARTET
10 January 2015
There are two kinds of jazz singer. One just introduces the song, sings and says 'thank you, thank you' after applause. The other kind engages the audience from the very start with intimate chat, jokes, banter with the other musicians and generally has a great time performing.
Lea Lyle is definitely in the latter brigade. She was off and running from the first minute, chatting, laughing, engaging immediately with her audience and she did not let go of them until the last bit of encore ended and the musicians were packing up their instruments. I should make it clear though that Lea Lyle is not just a good entertainer but actually a very fine singer. She began her programme with East Of The Sun, a well respected standard song which she delivered with a sultry, rather smoky voice as the piano trio set up a steady pulsation behind her.
There was a touch of blues and gospel about her next choice and she produced bright, softly swinging versions of 'Round midnight and the Nina Simone staple, My Baby Just Cares For Me. Some of her more sultry voice qualities were heard on Cry Me A River, the jazz crooner's favourite that made a star of Julie London way back in the '50s.
Lea showed great versatility in singing the lyrics to a complex Thelonious Monk song, Well, You Needn't, tackling La Vie En Rose in French, Corcovado and the ubiquitous Girl From Ipanema in Portuguese. Her choice of material was wide and varied including Charlie Chaplin's Smile, Old Devil Moon and Paper Moon. A slow and rather lyrical Misty was one of the highlights of the evening.
All this was helped a lot by the solid support and solo contributions of pianist Phil Craddock ( who carelessly forgot to bring his own original song which Lea would have sung!) Roy Dalpra on bass, sporting a long white beard and the most colourful jazz waistcoat I've ever seen and Jim Wade at the drums. Sterling jazzers all, they helped to highlight and spotlight the scintillating, bubbling and energetic Ms Lea Lyle, jazz vocalist of this parish.
This review is reproduced with the kind permission of the Newbury Weekly News, where it was first published.