The last time Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock were here, they conjured up sheer magic, now, three years on, can they reproduce the spell?
They kicked off harking back to 1929 and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust”, so far so good! Kellock started with an extended classic piano intro followed by Smith exploring the whole range and timbre of his tenor. This was followed by an upbeat version of “Chatangaga Choo Choo” the first of a couple of Glen Miller classics.
Next came a short debate whether to play the next number in D major or B flat, they played one last night so tonight is was the other! So, we had “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in B flat. It was a very slow, very plaintif, very beautiful rendition which would have melted the heart of all but the sternest. Upbeat again and “I want to be Happy”
Next, probably the most up to date piece, Steve Swallow’s “Ladies in Mercedes” this first saw the light of day in 1985 and displayed the duo’s jazz credentials.
Back to the American Songbook and Vincent Youmans next and “You Without a Song” a classic rendition as was the following “Moonlight Seranade”.
Ragtime now with Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” this was taken at a wholly suitable jaunty pace. Contrasting was the next offering, Michel Legrand’s “Summer Knows”. This is obviously a very hot steamy summer, not to be rushed. Super!
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” was the finale, a stirring ending. So much so it stirred the audience on to demand an encore! This came in the form of Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose” a tune apparently written for our Queen.
These two guys are absolute masters of their instruments their sound, all evening was superb and their renditions were true to the GA Songbook, but, some folk were craving a little more jazz. As one American presidential canditate once famously asked “Where’s the beef?”
PJL November 2017.