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5 September 2015

Noel Coward spoke about the potency of cheap music but said little, I think, about the more expensive variety.  The music chosen by singer Judy Vaughan on Saturday evening  would  fall into the latter category with compositions like Love For Sale  by Cole Porter, I Got Rhythm by the Gershwins  and Don't Get Around Much Anymore by jazz aristocrat, Duke Ellington.


Judy has a smile on her face when singing and also one in her voice which is bright and bubbly. She has that rare ability to stretch her vocal cords around lyrics and transform them into something a bit special. She did a personal version of Witchcraft even though she spent a good few minutes talking about Frank Sinatra's version. Autumn Leaves  suited her style of delivery even though it was at a slower tempo than most of her choices. Then it was up and along Route 66, a journey most jazz singers take at some stage and some spend hours on it. It is familiar enough to most singers, instrumentalists and audiences for that matter but I seriously doubt if many American vocalists spend time crooning about the advantages and joys of the M4 motorway! Judy put a nice bounce into it, ably backed up and accompanied by Phil Craddock's piano, Keith Howard's bass and Jim Wade stoking the drums.


The trio provided a strong performance all round, both as backing group and when they were required to play instrumentals. Guest soloist Derek Hummerston did well as tenor sax soloist on Freddie Hubbard's Up Jumped Spring, his tone light and feathery in the tradition of Stan Getz and Lester Young. He also provided wisps of obligato behind the singer on some selections. All in all a fine example of jazz singing using good, evergreen standards and expert, sympathetic backing from the  instrumentalists. Next up at this venue, the Lloyd Payne Quartet on October 3rd. 

Derek Ansell.


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

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