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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Fever: Jo Harrop sings Peggy Lee @ Ushaw, Durham - August 25.

Jo Harrop (vocals); Tony Kofi (alto); Alex Webb (piano); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).
(Review by Lance)
After Nicola Farnon's storming set on Friday night the question on everyone's lips last night was, would Jo Harrop be able to follow that?
With a little help from Tony Kofi, Alex Webb, Andy Champion, Russ Morgan and, of course, Peggy Lee, Jo Harrop certainly did 'follow that'!
The packed Exhibition Hall responded enthusiastically to local girl made good Jo's interpretation of some numbers associated with Peggy Lee plus a couple of compositions by pianist/composer Webb.
However, unlike most of the 'Rat Pack' tributes going around, this was no mere pastiche but a successful reworking of the Lee originals tailormade to suit Jo Harrop's own individual style.
From the opening Why Don't You Do Right? it was a voyage of delight helped along by some blistering alto solos from 'special guest' Kofi.
It's a Good Day; Confessin'; He's a Tramp; a pitch-perfect All Too Soon; voice and drums trading 4's on Just One of Those Things; a bass and voice duo on Bye Bye Blackbird; the first of Webb's originals - It's Not the End - and, to finish the first set, a sizzling Blues in the Night with Kofi blowing the blues as if he'd spent all day 'riding the rods' from Natchez to Mobile.
Interval time - I'm driving so I stay away from the bar and chat with Alex Webb, One of the black notes on the grand isn't working but it doesn't seem to faze him. "I've played on worse pianos," he says wrily.
The drinkers return and Baby It's Your Move, another Webb original that I'm sure Peg would have sung if she'd still been with us starts us off once more. The inevitable Black Coffee with some great exchanges between singer and sax. Get Out of Town - Cole Porter has certainly been well represented at this festival; I'm a Fool to Want You; Love me or Leave me; Two For the Road; I Love Being Here With You (with references to South Shields and 'The Toon' to prove it); Lover; voice and bass magic on Fever and then, and then, and then...
The Folks Who Live on the Hill. Whenever I play the Peggy Lee version a shiver runs down my spine when I hear that first Someday.... That same shiver was there when Jo gently mouthed that first word.
I drove home on a high.
Lance
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