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Review: Julianna Fabian/Peter Sarik

Hungarian Cultural Centre, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden
13th February 2009

My preview HERE was very long. So the review can and will be short. I enjoyed Fabian’s gig, and will definitely want to hear her again. Her voice has power but also a smoky Aretha quality. It definitely sticks in the mind. The drawing room in Maiden Lane sometimes felt uncomfortably small, because both of these musicians can really project. But hey, this was a free gig, not Glyndebourne!

Fabian is fearless, she takes risks, and may she take many, many more. She had penned some English words to Miles Davis “Four” and then launched off into quickfire scat, taking on a dialogue with Sarik with convincing humour and energy. Scat is a dangerous occupation, but Fabian is very good at it. I was reminded of the best of Dee Dee Bridgewater

Sammy Fain’s Alice in Wonderland which finished off the set was a high-spot. Sarik kicked it off with an extempore piano introduction. His wild idea seemed to be to give the refined and ethereal ghosts of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit a strutting bass wake-up call they could never forget, and it worked. Both protagonists nailed the trademarks of the tune every time: Fabian placed that octave leap which starts the song with joyously precise intonation. And A-Lease rather than Alice was charming. The descending duplet figure in the tune was taken by the scruff of the neck. and then frogmarched by Sarik relentlessly on down to the bottom of the piano. Brilliant.

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