Review: Annie Ross

Annie Ross, Oran Mor, Glasgow, Tuesday February 21st *****

Missing a flight due to an expired passport, getting it renewed on a public holiday, flying from New York, giving interviews, attending a film premiere … any octogenarian who had had the kind of week that Annie Ross had already had by Tuesday night might feel a bit tired. But then Annie Ross is not just any octogenarian.

Clearly energised by the terrific reception she’d just had at the film festival, the jazz star took to the stage at Oran Mor and did not leave it for 90 minutes. She didn’t even take a break to let her top-drawer duo – pianist Tardo Hammer and bass player Andy Cleyndert – carry the load for a while. And what’s more, her deep, rich voice sounded stronger and more commanding than I’d heard it before.

She held the audience spellbound with her vivid and utterly compelling renditions of a series of ballads. She may not be able to sustain notes – and filling in the gaps with colour and wit is a task stylishly pulled off by Hammer – but she paints a beautiful picture and tells a gripping story. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and One Meatball, a Depression-era number, were mini-dramas and the audience hung on every word she sang.

Indeed, it’s her commitment to the lyrics which shines through; they’re invested with emotion and intelligence – and there are few singers who care as much about the meaning of what they’re singing. Among many highlights Lush Life was a particular stand-out – not only because to hear Ross perform it is like being given a masterclass in life lessons, but also because she learned it direct from its writer, Billy Strayhorn…

ANNIE ROSS with Tardo Hammer (piano) and Andy Cleyndert (bass), Tuesday February 21st

Nobody Else But Me

The Very Thought of You

Speak Low

Trav’lin’ Light

C’mon Home

In the Gentle Rain -Here’s That Rainy Day-Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry-If You Could See Me Now


Remind Me


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

Watch What Happens

Lush Life

Bye Bye Blackbird

One Meatball

I Thought About You (scroll down for Thursday night’s programme)

Annie Ross with Tardo Hammer (piano) and Andy Cleyndert (bass), Oran Mor, Glasgow, Thursday, February 23rd

Nobody Else But Me

The Very Thought of You

Fun to Be Fooled

My Old Flame

Sing Baby Sing

I Wonder What Became of Me

Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

But Not For Me

Sure Thing

Poor You

Day In, Day Out

Nobody’s Heart-By Myself

Music Is Forever

Lush Life

One Meatball

encore:  I Got Rhythm


Filed under Concert reviews

9 responses to “Review: Annie Ross

  1. Doug MacGregor

    We were at the same concert – saw you sitting down the front, I think – and loved it. She is a real star, and held the audience in the palm of her hand. She sang a few less familiar numbers amongst some standards so thanks for the programme list. Can you advise, what was the song she introduced as “This one’s Billie Holiday’s…”. I loved it. Great review, by the way….

    • alisonkerr

      Hi Doug,
      Thanks for the comments. It was Trav’lin’ Light. Chet Baker also did a great version – which I love – on his Baker’s Holiday album.

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  3. Janet SEidel

    Hello Alison! Great review: glad to hear the ‘hip one’ is still in fine voice. We’ll be in Glasgow this month (15th): just got back from Moffat and Livingstone last weekend and 2 weeks ago we have a sell-out at Ronnies doing ‘Dear Blossom’.
    Listing the repertoire of Annie’s concert is a great idea. xxxJanet

  4. I loved this gig so much – thanks for posting the video today!

    Didn’t she do Twisted too or did I imagine that? I was at the film screening too so may be muddled.

    • alisonkerr

      God, you’re right: she did do it. I remember – I must have been unable to read my notes! I’ll check my notebook and add in any other omissions… Thanks!

  5. Pingback: Jazz on Film: No One But Me | Alison Kerr's Jazz Blog

  6. Pingback: Annie Ross Obituary | Alison Kerr's Jazz Blog

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