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Carol Kidd - Wigan Jazz Festival - Crescendo & Jazz Music


14 December 2009
Crescendo & Jazz Music
Bernard McAlinden

In his introduction, Ian Darrington told the audience that after he had pencilled in the Wigan Jazz Club Big Band for the last night of the festival he wanted someone special to play the other set. He made an inspired choice in presenting Carol Kidd. Accompanied by Nigel Clarke on acoustic guitar, she opened with Georgia on My Mind and for the next hour gave a flawless performance. Carol chose a nice programme, the familiar and the not so familiar. I Got Lost In His Arms, a lovely old Irving Berlin song that she interpreted so personally. A lightly swinging A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square was an object lesson in phrasing and diction bringing spontaneous applause. It was a pleasure to hear the minimalist accompaniment from Clarke, his rich, warm chording, so supportive and expressive.

Do You Believe, an original that Carol and Nigel had written reminded me of something that could have been written by Sondheim - a lovely song. She sang the verses to both Can't We Be Friends and The Shadow of Your Smile that made me wonder why more singers don't sing verses. Stars Fell on Alabama was memorable, particularly the way she delivered the middle eight. She sang two songs that had lyrics by Johnny Mercer, Day In Day Out and Moon River, swinging the former with some lovely interplay with Nigel and it was as though she was telling a story on the latter. One could have heard a pin drop during Clark's inventive solo.

So it continued, We'll be Together Again and The End of a Love Affair, two great songs treated with total respect before she had a bit of fun with the old Billy May / Sinatra song (My Lean Baby coaxing the audience to join in. Her final song was When I Dream and it was quite beautiful, the applause was richly deserved. This was a marvellous, intimate concert and what an opportunity it had been for aspiring singers to have been present to hear this true artist. An endearing personality, and with the perfect accompaniment, she was real class.


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