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Review: Laura Zakian @ Lichfield Guildhall

Laura Zakian

Laura Zakian

With a band made up of some of the finest musicians on the modern jazz scene, the singer Laura Zakian treated a select audience of music fans to a show that cast some old songs in new clothes.

Backing from the pianist Steve Lodder, bassist Simon Thorpe and drummer Nick France saw some standards played, but the ensemble also tackled songs from names such as Chicago, Paul Weller, John Martyn and Elvis Costello.

The group were promoting their latest release – Songs for Modern Lovers – itself a nod of the head to Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swinging Lovers. The light and airy quality of many of the arrangements perfectly suited Laura Zakian’s jazz influenced vocals and allowed for many displays of collective interplay between the musicians, as well as a number of solos for all three players.

They started with Anything Goes, a well worn song, but the arrangement meant that it sounded different. Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now received a new treatment, being more upbeat than the somewhat morose original. Paul Weller’s You Do Something To Me saved the melody, but added a new beat and more chords, and the lack of guitars meant that it seemed a lot lighter than the hit version.

First set closer, Elvis Costello’s Baby Plays Around was a playful, almost rockabilly version.

During the second half, You Make Me Feel So Young was at times a feature for just bass and vocals, while John Martyn’s Sweet Little Mystery featured a piano solo of invention and a lot of dexterity.

Steve Lodder was also featured on Joe Jackson’s Number 2, which was a duet for piano and vocals. Sam Brown’s Stop was revisited as a Latin number, while jazz standard Making Whoopee was a good note for the concert to finish on. An encore of I Thought About You was a suitable reward for the audience.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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