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12,160 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1300 of them this year alone and, so far, 2 this month (Dec. 1).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frank and Ella (Todd and Jacqui) - the BBC Big Band @ The Sage.

Jay Craig (leader); Tom Walsh, Martin Shaw, Andy Greenwood, Pablo Mendelsohn (tpts); John Higginbottom, Mike Feltham, Andy Wood, Alistair White (tmb); Sammy Main, Colin Skinner (alt), Dave O'Higgins, Robert Fowler (ten), Claire McNearny (bar); David Patrick (pno); Jeremy Brown (bs); Martin Wheatley (gtr); Matt Skelton (dms); Jacqui Dankworth, Todd Gordon (vcls).
Frank and Ella were, in my opinion - and no doubt the opinion of those who occupied a lot of seats in Hall One tonight - the two greatest singers of the last century.
The question was - how would Todd and Jacqui rate by comparision?
Todd has the voice, the look, the gestures - close your eyes and you're hearing 'Old Blue Eyes' - cept you ain't!
Jacqui doesn't look like Ella, doesn't sound like Ella yet she totally encapsulates the Spirit of Ella (with a touch of Mama Cleo) and for me that edged it.
Don't get me wrong both were excellent but, for me, Jacqui just went that extra couple of centimetres. The two ladies I spoke to on the Link bus gave the nod to Todd so you pays your money...
The two singers went through a fine selection of classics related to both artists - Todd's Tender Trap had me sighing sighs whilst Jacqui's It's Alright With Me was alright with me too.
The instrumental soloists didn't get quite the work-out they deserved although Dave O'Higgins (almost a resident at The Sage!) had some good blasts as did fellow tenor man Robert Fowler. Martin Shaw blew some muted and restrained trumpet on a Billy Byers' arrangement for Basie of South of the Border and a more forceful blast twixt the singers duet on They Can't Take That Away From Me. I'd like to have heard Sammy Main featured but this was a singers night and the rapturous applause that brought them back for the inevitable Lady Is a Tramp kept the customers well and truly satisfied.
All in all it was well worth braving the chill night air for which, after having spent a day indoors without heating, was no mean endeavour.
Lance.
PS: My heating is now back on!

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