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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zoe Gilby @ The Cask, Scarborough. Jan 23.

Vocalist Zoe Gilby and her band gave an evening of excellent entertainment at Scarborough Jazz on the 23rd January. This was their second visit and it was notable that their repertoire included more original songs than on their first appearance. This demonstrates -  quite rightly - their confidence in such material.  Some of these songs are inspired by novels: ' The Midnight Bell'  describes a fictional pub that sounds worth a visit. 'Guilty Man ' and 'On The Edge' also had their inspiration from novels, while ' Your  Words' was a recollection of disillusioned love. Zoe's first  impressions of Marrakesh were captured in 'Red City'. 
Scattered throughout both sets were better known standards that were  well chosen and every number had clever arrangements and good  musicianship.

With Zoe were Mark Williams - guitar, Richard Brown - drums and  husband Andy Champion on double bass. They have all been together  long enough to have melded into a swinging unit with great personal  skills.
Zoe is interesting when introducing the numbers, either telling how they came about or recalling who she first heard singing it. In the  case of 'Some Cats Know' it was Peggy Lee, and Zoe gave it a wonderfully sultry feel. Only 'Halfway To Heaven' seemed to to have a vague attribution, as she came across the song on the internet without any provenance. It is a fun, raunchy song, whoever wrote it.
The evening had too many highlights for them all to be mentioned, but I would like to applaud the courage in opening the first set with a very slow ballad sung over only a bowed bass accompaniment. That seemed to epitomise Zoe Gilby's self confidence and flair. Come to think of it, I never heard her ask for a starting note or glance at a lyric sheet once during the entire session! I'm sure that I speak for the very appreciative audience when I say that I look forward to the next visit by this remarkable band.
Dick Armstrong.

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