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2 May 2015


To describe singer Lea Lyle as effervescent and bubbly is almost to understate the case. This lady is a ball of constant energy and enthusiasm from the first song sung until the very last of the evening. She greets everyone coming in the door, welcomes them, almost pulls them in by sheer force of personality if the they linger or hesitate for an instant.

All this and then the singing, again full of the joy of what she is doing. Lea does not take the easy route by singing only the usual, well worn standards and staples; how many jazz singers would include in a programme four compositions by Thelonious Monk, one by Dave Brubeck, one popular song in Portugese and one in French? Then there was Lush Life,  a piece written by Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington's collaborator and none too easy to negotiate with its tempo changes and unusual structure.

Lea was in good voice all evening, especially so since she spent almost as much time chatting to the audience between selections as she did singing! Support from the rhythm section was solid with Phil Craddock at the keyboard and also supplying two original songs in praise of Dave Brubeck. Roy Dalpra on bass has a white beard which reaches down, I kid you not, to his knees! He was on the receiving end of many of Lea's jokes about bald heads and compensatory long beards but took it all in good part and never once complained that he was a victim of political incorrectness!

That left Jim Wade on drums, who works hard, not just behind his kit but behind the scenes, organising and booking for Jazz at The Angel. Look out for saxophonist Ewen Baird and his organ combo on June 6th.


Derek Ansell.


This review is reproduced  with the kind permission of the Newbury Weekly News, where it was first published.

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