Live review

HJC presents ‘Jazz On A Summer’s Evening’ at Cadogan Hall

HJC Presents ‘Jazz On A Summer’s Evening’

(Cadogan Hall. 5 June 2021. Review by Lavender Sutton)

L-R: Carroll Thompson, Paul Lee and Jo Harrop. Photography by Carl Russ-Mohl, Muphovi Ltd.

Jazz On A Summer’s Evening at Cadogan Hall, presented by the Hampstead Jazz Club, finally came to fruition on Saturday 5th June. A long anticipated gig originally scheduled for December of last year, it was exciting to finally be able to gather in a real-live venue. The COVID restrictions set upon performance spaces like this, however, were so strict that it still felt a bit strange. Each artist spoke about how grateful they were to be performing for a live audience but everything is still far from “normal”. 

The plan for the evening was essentially a variety set from artists that are on the label associated with the Hampstead Jazz Club. The artists are all unique in their own right but have come together to share a collection of jazz standards and other similar stylings.

The night’s MC, Nigel Williams, from JazzFM, introduced each act and made some awkward jokes to try and engage the spaced out guests – it can’t be easy to talk to a nearly empty room – but the anticipation was for the music, not the banter. 

Tara Minton set the bar high. She opened with a familiar Stevie Wonder tune, If It’s Magic, featuring a short, but very sweet, spotlight from fellow vocalist, Paul Lee and the gorgeous Amika String Quartet. She then invited the rest of her band, Phil Merriman (piano), David Ingamells (drums), Ed Babar (bass) and Tommaso Starace (saxophones) to share a selection of songs from her most recent release Please Do Not Ignore the Mermaid, which were even more beautiful in person than they are on the album. The comfortability and expertise of these musicians really settled everyone in for the evening and the message of Minton’s compositions was a poignant start.

Next, Paul Edis played a few beautiful solo piano standards before inviting Jo Harrop to the stage with her favourite guitarist Jamie McCredie and Ingamells/Babar again to play some bluesy originals. One of the songs was a lovely ballad written by Harrop and Edis together called If I Knew and was dedicated to her late father. McCredie and Harrop also played a sultry duo of the Michel Legrand song You Must Believe in Spring which was another highlight of the evening. 

Tara Minton. Photo credit:Carl Russ-Mohl, Muphovi Ltd.

Paul Lee returned for a set of latin inspired tunes and was joined by Ciyo Brown on guitar. The instrumentalists all came and went throughout the night and at some point, Freddie Gavita joined for a few solos. He, on trumpet, and Starace’s sax really added a lot to the arrangements over the course of the evening. They are stellar musicians and it would have been nice to have them and the Amika String Quartet featured a bit more. 

Tony Momrelle’s was the first song of the evening with a bit of a back beat and everyone in the audience sat up a bit taller, joining in with hearty clapping and swaying. Momrelle’s charisma was contagious. He sang a heavenly version of The Very Thought of You with Alex Webb on piano, adding his soulful touch to it.

With one final artist still to come Carroll Thompson, originally known as the “Queen of Lover’s Rock”, again brought her own flavour to some of her favourite jazz standards as a sneak peak into her upcoming jazz album, Where Did Our Lovers Go.

A final medley of summer songs featured all the singers and most of the musicians and had everyone clapping and singing along once again. It was nice to see the collaboration of the evening and gave a little taste of what’s to come from these artists as performances return. Everyone’s ready!  

The final curtain call. Photo credit: Carl Russ-Mohl, Muphovi Ltd.

LINK: Hampstead Jazz Club homepage

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