Review: Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood @ Lichfield Guildhall

The married duo of Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood played a varied set of standards and special arrangements for an attentive audience when they appeared at Lichfield Guildhall.

With songs by such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Ray Charles and Simon and Garfunkel this was an evening of music that showed these songs of in unusual and new ways.

With only Wood’s dextrous, jazz and blues influenced piano playing for accompaniment the well matched vocals of the two singers worked in both duo and solo arrangements.

Jacqui Dankworth

Jacqui Dankworth

As the daughter of jazz stars Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, Jacqui Dankworth’s musical pedigree is well known, and her work across many different genres has won her many fans, whil eCharlie Wood is an acclaimed Jazz and Blues musician.

The genres ranged widely from jazz and blues numbers to show stopping folk, and pop. The singing, both solo and duo, was of a uniformly high standard throughout, matching the grandeur of the Guildhall.

The first half featured songs from the newest release, Just You, Just Me, with the angular jazz of the title track, and the opening Two to Tango being particular showcases for the duo’s stengths, while When Something is wrong with my Baby featured unison singing of the highest order.

The second half of the evening featured a wider range of material, ranging from the scat singing of Just a Gigolo/I ain’t Got Nobody, to Ray Charles’s Side by Side.

However, the highlight of the evening was Jacqui Dankworth’s solo version of Ewan McColl’s timeless classic The First Time Ever I saw Your Face. The delicate nature of the ballad, full of melancholia was the perfect showcase for the quality of her vocals and kept the audience spell-bound.

Lighter moments of the concert also abounded, with a fine reading of Carole King/James Taylor’s You’ve Got A Friend, or a closing It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.

An encore of Paul Simon’s The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) stripped the wistfulness from the song, and added a more upbeat flavour.

This was a fine concert, delivered by two consummate professionals, both at the top of their game.