Friday 2 May 2014

Christine Tobin - Kiss and tell

Christine Tobin
Christine Tobin came to the Twickenham Jazz Club with only two sidemen to fight for her cause. There is a bravery and obvious purity in having so few instruments and personalities on stage. It was toward the end of the month (24/04/2014) and the crowd wasn't as plump in numbers, so it made for a close knit group with a singer who weaves a narrative with great skill and pathos.

The spine of the performance belonged to an 80 year old, well his songs anyway. The words of Leonard Cohen have given Tobin the inspiration for her latest album A Thousand Kisses Deep (2014 - Trail Belle Records) but visually she has very little in common with the Canadian wordsmith.

Dave Whitford - Bass

Christine Tobin was bathed in a spicy light that only exaggerated her already flame hair and exotic visage that challenged Cleopatra with its generous sweep of mascara. When her hips started to move and the gypsy hoops in her ears started to swing you couldn't help but imagine her as an Irish Esmerelda. Despite there being another poet's words in her mouth it is her ability as a storyteller that lived with us long after this performance.

Phil Robson - guitar
"Dance Me To The End Of Love", "A Thousand Kisses Deep", "Everybody Knows", "Take This Waltz" swept past before we saw the best of Dave Whitford on Bass. We familiarised ourselves with the stoop of Whitford recently when he performed with the excellent Alex Hutton at TJC in December 2013. Tonight and without charts to look at, he raised himself to his full height. Another two Cohen tunes "Story Of Isaac" and "Tower of Song" gave us a mere flavour of his talents and it was a regret we didn't taste more of his solo work in particular.

Joe the Hat
The third member of the trio was the consummate professional Phil Robson on guitar, with a dead pan demeanour that barely varied throughout the evening. Neither did his talents dwindle from start to finish. He laid down an early marker on "A Thousand Kisses Deep" where he was gentle and firm. As a kisser I imagine he would be smooth and easy, not a fast and furious fiddler.

Caroline Rock
Robson is going to be a busy man this year with his Organ Trio (Ross Stanley & Gene Calderazzo) coming to the capital on 13th May (S.E Collective) and further afield a North American tour with the Partisans.

Lister Park
With only the trio on stage for the majority of the night, it gave me a chance to turn my pen on some of the audience and of course the first person that catches your eye is legendary Jazz figure Joe the Hat who doesn't need any introductions. The music copyright expert Andy Rock was in attendance with his elegant wife and the TJC's website manager Lister Park brought a bit of muscle to proceedings.

Kelvin Christiane -
A Twickenham Jazz Club night wouldn't be the same without an entrance from host Kelvin Christiane, this time on soprano saxophone. He gave the swinging "Angel Eyes" the sass it needed and the lemony zest that perfectly balanced the buttery voice of Christine Tobin.


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