Oct 17 – Catherine Sykes Quartet

Autumn started off in the Portobello in Worcester and then shifted dramatically in direction to the Berkeley on the Evesham Road. For the first outing at the new room, we were treated to the Catherine Sykes Trio although to be fair it was Catherine plus a trio of superb, complementary musicians, two of whom were well known to regulars.

Singers are not everyone’s cup of tea, especially within the jazz fraternity but what was there not to like about this choice of music and indeed the combination of the singer and the musicians. There were wonderful songs from stage shows and of course the great American songbook and these were songs where you needed to hear the words. And you did. Not only did you need to hear those wonderful words written by some of the great word smiths, but you also needed to understand the feelings behind them. You needed to be part of those emotions. And Catherine made sure you did.

On the technical side, I suppose it’s an advantage if you have experience of singing with a powerful big band and small groups then you have that versatility – Catherine does. Catherine is resident vocalist with The Glenn Miller Orchestra UK and performs regularly on tour with the band throughout the UK and Europe. She has also guested with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Nick Ross Orchestra, Manhattan Orchestra, Fat Chops Big Band and The Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra. The musicians were in on the secret as well. Catherine had worked with all of them before and they obviously enjoyed the outing to this new, much larger space at the Berkeley. Apart from more room for the audience, it also meant that the quality of the sound was good as well.

Musically there were a number of references to Ella Fitzgerald and songs she had sung and nothing at all wrong with that. There were also other excursions into stage musicals where the songs lent themselves to a jazz performance.

Musicians were Paul Buck on keyboards. Paul has played in this area for years and he is well known amongst jazz fans. He used to be musical director of the Crescendo Big Band. Clive Morton was on bass while Terry Howard was drummer for the night.

All in all a good start to Severn Jazz in its new home and here’s to many more evenings at the same standard.