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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Cherry Tree

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Rob Walker (dms).
Lance built up this gig and the expected gastonomic treats: the evening lived up to billing on both counts.
Three sentences (one of Dickensian length) on my choice of food should suffice.
Squid starter - brilliant (that's Pinteresque brevity)!
Pudding - Spiced Plum Crumble and double cream - crunched as well as crumbled and was spicy enough to prepare you for the mean streets where gritters were already out (increasing verbosity)!
As for the main course: chefs and jazz musicians are alike - they are alchemists transforming the known and familiar into unexpected delights; if "haddock" prompts images of batter, chips and mushy peas, try "Roast Haddock with Savoy Cabbage, Morteaux Sausage, Bacon & Red Wine" - amazing -think of rich, warming Coq au Vin, but with delicious, flaky haddock, and you are getting close. A great winter dish: how do they do it at the price? (Sorry - four sentences and one of them is a cheat, grammar-wise!)
Ruth, relaxed from the start, was in excellent voice throughout and was more than ably supported by the band. Easing into the evening with the silky-smooth "You and the night....", they worked through a lovely selection of standards such as "The way you look tonight" and "Long ago and far away" as well as some I'd not heard before such as the ballad, "But beautiful". I'm always amazed at the cleverness of the lyrics: "Santa Baby" and "Let's do it.." can raise a smile on the printed page - well-performed they are little gems. No modern lyricists, in any genre, come close in my opinion.
All of love's paradoxes were there in the set-lists: "I fall in love too easily" being followed immediately by "Let's do it, let's fall in love", but I suppose there is logic in yearning for "Someone to watch over me" after chronicling "A day in the life of a fool". In spite of the vicissitudes of love and the recent monsoon weather, optimism prevailed in "Wrap your troubles in dreams" which reminds us that "sunshine always follows the rain": Paul, enjoying having a baby-grand to play, also managed to sneak "Somewhere over the rainbow" into a second half solo (or did I imagine it?)
My pick of the night has to be "Santa Baby". Ruth was grateful for the restaurant's Christmas tree legitimising a song which she would "gladly sing all the year round". The way Ruth sings it, I, for one, would gladly hear it all the year round. Reserving it for Christmas?? Bah, humbug!
Jerry Edis.

2 comments :

Lance said...

Thank you Jerry - sounds like I really did miss a good one. The quote re Chefs and jazz musicians is brilliant and should be emblazened above the stage!
I don't suppose you'll still want the bag of crisps I owe you!

John Taylor said...

So that was Pauls family two tables from us. I must say I agree with everything he said. Only one small problem - the background music in the interval. It was erratic. Tracks from Jamie Cullem - not a match for Paul and co.

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