18 July 2017

When words speak

I met Sandie White when she came to Smiths to hear the impeccable Michelle Nicole. This was Sandie's return to play the room, on a Sunday afternoon, down from Sydney, with Welsh import Esmond Selwyn on guitar and our own local, Eric Ajaye on bass. When IU listen to jazz singers, I remember that songs have themes, words, meanings that are evident, often sentimental or maudlin, occasionally tender. The songs of the jazz era were like that, but I love it. Sandie sang some lesser-knowns like Peggy Lee I never knew, Lee Wiley Oh look at me now, Nat King Cole Just me just me, along with Misty and September in the rain and the like. All lovely, all poignant, but the jazz improv showed through, too. Sandie sang several scats that rang with jazz movement. Nice. Esmond accompanied with celerity, all staccato chords and lithe, hasty lines and sweeps, and a free take on one-man improv especially over the ballads. And how great to hear Eric again - it's too seldom these days. All smooth and flowing and mellifluous, but quick and endlessly conversational. Loved it. A pleasure to hear in such an intimate, drummerless grouping. Great that Sandie discovered Smiths and came for the outing. Perhaps next time, for an evening with a more generous gathering: it may have been warm within, from heating and an inviting performance, but the sunny arvo had a bitter breeze.

Sandie White (vocals) performed at Smiths with Esmond Selwyn (guitar) and Eric Ajaye (bass).

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