Carol at Lauderdale House, London Jazz Festival, 21st November 2013
'If you want to get ahead get a hat and head for Lauderdale House'. The temperature doesn't just dive in Newcastle, North London also has its share of howling winds, and below zero temperatures.
Carol rapidly warmed the audience up with red hair flowing topped by a snazzy hat at a jaunty angle, her way of warning off winter's bugs.
- All Blues. Already the packed audience were anything but blue.
- Little Sister, with drummer Winston interjecting 'Call my Name', who wouldn't?
- 'Round Midnight. Carol chose Oscar Brown's lyric, ably philosophising (is there such a word)?… 'as one day gets spent we gain another'… through all this a speedy tempo, but was toned down for some poetry… 'the ghost of Thelonious Monk visits me'… and we are enveloped in a cha cha rhythm to conclude on a high. By this point the audience were agog!
- Scars, Fran Landesman lyric, Simon Wallace score. Again very profound lyric, but true to Carol's inimitable style, delivered with a twist. How does Annie manage to get her trombone to slide to a whispering finish?
- Innards. Only Carol could write a lyric naming parts of the anatomy, and Dorian perform such an alluring solo, punctuated by Annie 'growling'. (I was privileged to have a seat behind Dorian which allowed me to see the silent communication between the triangle of piano bass and drums.)
- The Dance, once again lyric by Carol, music Dorian. Carol said her inspiration came from paintings by Marc Chagall. This piece was a superb vehicle for solos from all the group. Hope Chagall was tuned into the multi-coloured ending to the first set. The audience clamouring to buy the current CD featuring pieces performed.
- Annie's Little Red Trombone. Carol was inspired to pen this when Annie arrived as a party guest bearing a red plastic(made in China) trombone. I couldn't stop giggling to listen to the lyrics but a lot of 'red' was mentioned… 'beetroot salad, red beans'… comedy switched to virtuosity with Winston pairing with Dorian on piano, and also scatting with Neville on bass.
- But I was Cool. An open invitation with a blues flavour to let it all hang out, Annie 'growled', possibly to draw a veil across some four letter words, Carol's voice soared to falsetto, a signal for musicians mayhem, ending as it began, being 'Cool'.
- Tree and Me. Change of mood, Carol introduced this as a favourite of her daughter's. Again, for me the lyric was profound, with the musicians offering a sound basis for Carol to then present herself in a totally different way, once more tongue in cheek.
- New Coat of Paint, Tom Waits. I suspect a very different version to the original. Opportunity for more 'growling' from Annie. (She does it like no other.) In a nutshell - Honky Tonk.
- Ship Building, Elvis Costello. Yet again thought provoking material, delivered in an upbeat way, turning the theme upside down; as they say 'that's Jazz'.
- Rags and Old Iron. I am certain that this Nina Simone classic was, as they say in the trade, a 'Big Finish', with all the signs of a mini Musical. It drew all the threads together, but left the audience hungry for more.
A stellar choice for the London Jazz Festival. I take my hat off to Brian Blane for selecting such a galaxy of stars. Definitely a case for Keeping Jazz Live.