More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
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April 27 can't wait 2 play Cambridge Modern Jazz @KitDownes @ruthgoller @jamesmaddren @CambJazzFest @Jazzwise @JazzUK_org #Cambridge #jazz pic.twitter.com/lAPOLwQVpD— Sarah Gillespie (@Stalkingjuliet) February 28, 2017
This was a compelling evening of songs by Sarah Gillespie and her band (a quartet, in all), which had mainly been written by Sarah Gillespie herself (@Stalkingjuliet / sarahgillespie.com), and which she performed with energy and sincerity.
Often bluesy in style (she identified Bessie Smith as someone to whom she looks), her vocal-quality was always full and emotive, e.g. a heartfelt 'St James Infirmary', which, in introducing it, she located for us as partly her version (it is on the Glory Days album - please see below), partly Armstrong's.
She also does not choose to stick to one register within a song : it is clear that, if it fits better to place sections in her higher range, but contrast them with the effect of using the lower part of her voice, she will do so. (However, she does it so naturally and well that one may easily not realize, which is real thought and care.)
Although Sarah Gillespie has a new album, her third, the Glory Days was most representative of what we heard across two sets, songs relating to losing her mother (there were at least six numbers from it – sitting at the front meant that one could also read the set-list on the piano...).
* Tom Cawley² ~ piano
* Sarah Gillespie ~ vocals and guitar
* Ruth Goller ~ double-bass
* James Maddren ~ drums
Critically acclaimed songstress Sarah Gillespie is bringing her fusion of #jazz #blues and #folk to Terry O'Toole Theatre this month. https://t.co/nps0y5AF62— artsNK (@artsNK1) November 8, 2016
.@camjazz @jamesmaddren @ruthgoller @tomcawley There were a couple of Bessie Smith tributes, St James Infirmary, but mainly Sarah's excellent and sincere songs (even a lonely-hearts poem)— THE AGENT APSLEY (@THEAGENTAPSLEY) April 27, 2017
NB Regarding the poem (referred to in the Tweet above), this was in a comedic vein, and presented by Gillespie as inspired by surveying what people say about themselves to the world at large, but without seeming to realize what it tells others about them, her favourite being that 'a pink, round, bald man' was seeking the opposite of himself : in the songs generally, there is much that is observational and / or wry (as well as lyrical), but this was a chance to be openly amused by her words.
Maybe Gillespie's roots are really in country (?), but, although two numbers certainly started off in that idiom (and she readily employs its characteristic tremolos and extended vowel-sounds, or a drawled type delivery), jazz and country are, of course, broad terms – not inflexible categories.
Certainly, her fondness for the blues means that we do hear the jazz vibe and its tropes overlaid on the more open and uncomplicated sound-world of country (i.e. that often hallmarks it), and with a nice band of instrumentalists who can exploit that jazzy / bluesy territory and spin off very germane accompaniment and solos.
Nice review of last week's gig at the @606club! Thursday we will be hitting the mean streets of Cambridge @camjazz w @ruthgoller on bass. https://t.co/3ypcDthgVD— Sarah Gillespie (@Stalkingjuliet) April 25, 2017
Another demonstration that (with the support of the regular team at Hidden Rooms¹ and John, as usual, on sound), Cambridge Modern Jazz (cambridgejazz.org / @camjazz) can be looked to for the programming of a variety of performers who will make an evening’s jazz as stimulating and of such quality as this one !
¹ The venue of Hidden Rooms is located on Jesus Lane in Cambridge, underneath Pizza Express (the stairs down to it are to the right of the stairs up to the pizzeria).
² The line-up originally included the Hammond supremo Kit Downes (on piano), but Cawley deputized to cover Downes’ injury to a tendon.
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Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)