Laura Collins has a vocal background of church music, but she slipped out of her cassock and donned a dress to move her music from that of the cloisters to that of the musical stage and the jazz club.
Her programme consisted of standards which lend themselves to a jazz setting with a few diversions into the realms of Norma Winstone and a change to the lyrics of The Girl From Ipanema. I’m not sure whether the audience quite was quite ready for complexities of Ms Winstone or whether they allowed liberties to be taken with favourite songs. But there were no protests perhaps because it was a song of Brazil and it was the opening night of the Olympics—in Rio.
With a friendly stage presence and a winning smile together with a vocal talent that sang the songs with understanding and feeling, Laura quickly got the audience on side. Her allies in this were the two musicians who are very experienced in this music and also very used to accompanying singers. Paul Sawtell, who was playing keyboards tonight as distinct from vibraphone last time he was at Severn Jazz and a repeat of the excellent bass playing of Erika Lyons. There’s an art to playing for a singer and they both do it very well without hiding their talent and at the same time, without any sense of domination.