Sunday, 29 March 2015
It seems to be a bit of a "diva weekend" here at Dolores Delargo Towers (but, then again, when isn't it?)...
Yesterday we celebrated the genius that was "Sassy" Sarah Vaughan, today it's the turn of the irrepressible, the wonderful Miss Pearl Bailey! - here giving Bing Crosby the runaround on their joyful rendition of Gone Fishin':
Pearl Mae Bailey (29th March 1918 – 17th August 1990)
Saturday, 28 March 2015
It's a grey old start to the day, but I am off to meet up with John-John to (finally) get to see a showing of the film Pride at the BFI - as part of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, nowadays clumsily known as "BFI Flare" - so that should be fun.
It was also Sassy's birthday yesterday - and what could be more sassy than her vocal version of the theme from the ultra-noir series Peter Gunn? [With a fab remix by Max Sedgley, of course.]
Sarah Vaughan (27th March 1924 – 3rd April 1990)
Friday, 27 March 2015
It's my last day in the benighted office for TEN DAYS, dear reader - and I am ecstatic!
To suit the impending party mood that will envelop me around 4.30 this afternoon, here - clad, as I am, entirely in silver lamé - is the lovely Miss Anita Ward and Ring My Bell...
Thank Disco It's Friday!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, 26 March 2015
On Tuesday Madam Arcati and I were thrilled to get tickets for a very special event indeed – an intimate evening of jazz and standards titled It Might As Well Be Spring, courtesy of two of the top performers in their genre, Miss Claire Martin OBE and Mr Joe Stilgoe (son of the legendary Sir Richard, telly favourite in the 1970s and co-writer of Phantom of the Opera with Lord Lloyd-Webber) – in the luxuriant surroundings of the fantabulosa “Crazy Coqs” cocktail lounge at Brasserie Zedel…
The syncopated excellence of Claire Martin and Joe Stilgoe has to be seen (and heard) to be believed. Martin, one of our finest jazz divas, defines insouciance as she controls her perfect timbre, her voice swooping like a seabird from the most glorious moment of an occasional mezzo trills, down to a luxuriously resonant contralto. Her pitch is perfect and her timing pinpoint - there is truly nothing more a cabaret singer could offer.I have always adored Miss Martin’s talents – we have on CD When Lights Are Low, a collection of excellent tunes from her lengthy musical partnership with the late, great Sir Richard Rodney Bennett – and she is highly regarded on the “jazz scene”, presenting as she does BBC Radio 3’s flagship Jazz Line-Up show.
And then there's Stilgoe. With a reverential impertinence that reminds one of Peter Shaffer’s young Amadeus, eschewing sheet music and much like a Transformer straight out of the recent movie franchise, he becomes one with his piano. Stilgoe really is that good. - Jonathan Baz
Her voice was described on the Musical Theatre Review site thus: ”[Claire] is able to glide effortlessly from swinging a number to caressing it and, at times, she drops from a tone of pure mellifluousness to a timbre that is evocative of a gin and cigarettes habitué.” As we were to discover, she is simply a breath-taking vocal stylist - tackling a range of standards, from Judy Garland (Arlen’s Get Happy) to Lena Horne (on Michel Legrand’s Watch What Happens), with a little bit of everything else in between...
...including this wonderfully sassy (and, we thought, somewhat "Caro Emerald-esque") song, written (surprisingly) by Donald Fagen of Steely Dan fame - one of my favourite numbers of the whole evening, Do Wrong Shoes. [Unfortunately her interpretation is not online anywhere, so this is a version by Jackie Allen]:
Mr Joe Stilgoe is someone of whose music, much to my chagrin, I had heard little before. After this performance, I shall certainly be making amends on that score! He is incredibly talented, and an often very funny entertainer – even reinterpreting the lyrics of such “untouchables” as They All Laughed or Wonderful World.
Not merely a miraculous jazz pianist (the things he can do with that keyboard!) but guitarist too - and he "plays" the mute trumpet, just by “tooting” with his mouth – he has a vocal style reminiscent of Harry Connick or even Bobby Darin (and definitely better than Jamie Cullum!), and could effortlessly switch between swing, “interpretive jazz” and smooth “lounge” sounds, as accompanist to Miss Martin and on his own numbers.
They complimented each other beautifully.
So much of “our kind of music” was here. So many classics by our staple diet of songwriters – Noel Coward, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Yip Harburg, Irving Berlin. In the hands of these two consummate professionals, we were absolutely in our element.
A perfect evening!
Claire Martin website
Joe Stilgoe website
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
"Now, who had hold of my showerproof? It’s irreplaceable, you know, being in tangerine poplin, which apparently there’s no call for."
Timeslip moment again - and today the wormhole has dropped us back 19 years to 1996...
Nudging around the middle reaches of the charts this week (on its second outing, incidentally - it was first released almost a year earlier) was the fabulously boppy sound of La Bouche (one of Mr Frank Farian's side-projects, post-Boney M and definitely post-Milli Vannilli) and Be My Lover:
Oh, I can just smell the dry ice...