Carol Kidd Sings the Music of Judy Garland, George Square Spiegeltent, Edinburgh ***
If there has been one consistent talking point through this year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival it has been frustration with its Easyjet method of boarding – making audiences for the tents queue outside; only to be allowed into the venue at the time that the concert is scheduled to start.
At Thursday’s Carol Kidd concert, one which was always likely to draw a high proportion of golden oldie ticket holders, observers braced themselves for fisticuffs as a bunch of stick-wielding geriatrics sprang unexpectedly from benches in George Square Gardens and formed a Saga-style stampede into the venue ahead of the punters who had been waiting in the mile-long queue.
Kidd herself referred to the problems of age during an enjoyable 90 minutes in which she evoked the spirit of Ella Fitzgerald by gamely improvising the lyrics she had forgotten, but the main challenge she faced was on ballads – normally her strongest suit. The problem was that her band – pianist Paul Harrison and bassist Mario Caribe – didn’t provide enough colour, depth or texture behind her as she sang such beautiful ballads as The Man Who Got Away.
Kidd has sung Gershwin’s Do It Again in a slowed-down, seductive and suggestive style before and it has been magic, but on Thursday, there was so little going on behind the long, not very varied, notes of the melody that it began to seem funereal rather than sexy. Even her musical Meg Ryan moment on the “oh-oh-oh” failed to relight the fire …
* First published in The Scotsman on Saturday July 22nd
Carol Kidd & Brian Kellock, The Hub, Saturday July 30th ****
Saturday night’s jazz festival concert at The Hub was always going to be a game of two halves, thanks to the unusual programming which meant that the hugely popular singer Carol Kidd – who hasn’t appeared in Edinburgh since last year’s festival – was only going to perform one set. And so, there was a real sense of expectation about her appearance – especially since it was to be a rare duo set with pianist Brian Kellock whose trio’s bop-oriented opening session didn’t pander at all to the Kidd crowd’s more mainstream taste.
Kidd’s duo with Kellock is quite a different beast to her normal musical double-act with guitarist Nigel Clark. There was a looseness and an edge which comes with collaborating with an alternative, more infrequent, partner, and it seemed a little less controlled than usual. Kellock seems to bring out the mischievous side of Kidd – though at times, amidst her horsing around (something that the rather formal Hub seems to inspire in both of them), it felt, to those of us at the back of the hall, as if we were missing out on some great joke.
Kidd was singing at the top of her game, on a programme largely comprised of old favourites from her repertoire. Also as ever, her voice was at its most beguiling on ballads, notably a sumptuous take on The Man I Love and It Never Entered My Mind (though there’s no point in singing those gorgeous Lorenz Hart lyrics if you’re going to forget the maiden’s prayer/into my hair line). However, it was her dramatic, encore, performance of The Man That Got Away – with Kellock’s trio – that slayed the audience and undoubtedly left everyone wanting more..
(First published in The Herald, Monday August 1st)
Carol Kidd Sings the Music of Judy Garland, Queen’s Hall
Some concerts are more personal than others. And the concert with which Carol Kidd closed the Edinburgh Jazz Festival on Sunday seemed a great deal more personal than the Gershwin show she gave in Glasgow earlier in the summer. Why? Because Sunday’s concert was a celebration of the songs of her first favourite singer, Judy Garland, and many of them were numbers she had never done in public before.
They weren’t necessarily the tunes that the rest of us would immediately associate with Garland but they made for a varied, unpredictable and delightful programme. Among the many highlights were Kidd’s superb duets with guitarist Nigel Clark, on Stormy Weather especially, and first time outings of a swinging Just in Time, which boasted one of a series of knockout solos by pianist Brian Kellock (pictured above, right, with Frank Perowsky and Carol Kidd), and a bossa take on Time After Time.
Indeed, the bossa was undoubtedly the rhythm of the night – and it was a Jobim song, How Insensitive, which stole the first half; guest star Frank Perowsky’s flute playing the icing on an already scrumptious cake.