|Sam Leak -piano – with Noemi Nuti
Credit for all photos: Melody McLaren
(Cafe Posk, King St W6. First night of three. Review by sebastian Scotney)
What started highly promisingly last night with Noemi Nuti will end triumphantly on Sunday with Norma and Nikki.
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Anita Wardell’s three day Songsuite Festival, in partnership with Marek Groliak and Tomasz Furmanek of Cafe Posk, and Tristan Maillot of the Loiremusic Summer Schools, presents jazz singing in a friendly, warm, supportive, attractive context. This place is easy to get to. Hammersmith is close by. Ravenscourt Park tube on the District Line is is two minutes’ walk. Go.
We previewed this three day festival a few days ago.. The first singer in the first of the three triple-bills was Noemi Nuti, with pianist Sam Leak. Nuti is an adoptive Londoner from Bracciano in Lazio in Italy, is in the last term of her postgrad studies at Trinity Laban. In her short set she kept her very best till last. In the Burns/Herman/Mercer song Early Autumn she gave herself permission to be completely, winningly alive in the moment, to smile, to communicate a sense of fearless enjoyment. It was a moment to treasure. It set up the vibe for the evening, possibly for the whole festival. You could feel it in the room
The Songsuite festival is also showcasing/ introducing Polish singers each night in the middle set. Some people moan that London only ever lets them hear the same singers. Come on down to Posk.
Tonight it was Dominika Zachman, with Yaron Stavi bass, Leszek Kulaszewicz on tenor sax and Yujiro Wada, guitar. They all performed with energy, drive and finesse, and navigated a fiendishly tricksy Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise with the A section in 5/4 and the bridge in 3 with nonchalant swagger, and yet with a mesmerizing sense of deep involvement and complete conviction.
Headlining were Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood. I particularly enjoyed their duetting in Lady Be Good. Each of the pair had taken a Lester Young chorus and set words to it. If a process like that sounds effort-ful, the result was a joy. It was not just perfectly executed, it was also effective, and, yes, affecting. The pair communicated, collaborated, dovetailed perfectly, and at the end were able to give each other the sweet smile of a job well done.
Tonight’s headliner is Anita Wardell, who has master-minded the whole venture, and – with luck – will see it repeated. Then Sunday Norma Winstone, Nikki Iles and Mark Lockheart.
For this three day festival, we are privileged to be guests of London’s Polish community. It seems that adoptive Londoners can teach us Brits the lessons we seem to have forgotten about social cohesion. For three nights, we can be Poles together. And grateful for the opportunity.
Songsuite Festival on Facebook – it also has more of Melody McLaren’s photos