Elaine Delmar, Jim Mullen. Barry Green, Simon Thorpe, Bobby Worth
(Piano Smithfield, 15 November 2023, EFG LJF.
Elaine Delmar is a complete miracle. In a sensible country she would be a national monument. Wikipedia will tell you how old she is, but you don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to. Delmar, I calculate, is only a couple of years short of having spent seven decades – Yes. Seven. Decades. – on stage. Again and again she will do something with a song which justifies the price of the ticket. The contentment and ease of “It Might as Well be Spring”. The plaintive tone of “I loves you Porgy”. The effervescence of Paul Williams’s “They Say It’s Wonderful”. The teasing delay over the words “stop before I begin” in “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. The slow, kid-gloves “Tea for Two”…the clever and thoughtful enunciation of every word of “S’Wonderful”… Essentially, the wonders never stop. This was a masterclass.
The band is a regular unit, and follows all the twists and turns with total assuredness. Jim Mullen‘s melodic gift is eternally fresh and their duet “Isn’t it a pity” was a gem. Barry Green shone particularly in a performance of “Send in the Clowns” which was alive to the song’s particular subtleties and reflectiveness. Simon Thorpe on bass and Bobby Worth on drums were flawless. What a great show to mark the half-way point of John Billett’s LJF programme at Piano Smithfield.