Claire Martin/Richard Rodney Bennet - When the lights are low - Evening Press
Last night New York cabaret came to Harrogate, the heart of two supreme musical artists raising the temperature. Claire's ice queen white suit and choice of June Christy's Something Cool, did little to lower the heart - these two controlled incendiaries burning from gas mark 1 to gas mark 10. Alternating solo with duets, the voice/piano format allowed effortlessly impromptu key changes and both artists are fond of little-heard verses to well-known songs - Embraceable You, Isn't This A Lovely Day and Noel Coward's World Weary. Sir Richard's chosen repertoire ranges from the 1920s to the 1960s, but he gave a praised outing to an Elvis Costello song, plus a song written for Peggy Lee by rock-meisters Leiber and Stoller, Some Cats Know, on which he unleashed some boogie woogie.
Anecdotal stories from each artist between songs made for an evening as much of cabaret as of jazz. However only two sets of jazz could have interwoven two songs simultaneously. Claire's The Very Thought Of You Led Into Sir Richard's I thought About You, then the two songs were performed together interweaving lines from each in a tour de force.
The capacity audience was delighted to join Claire in calling out the song title at the end of each stanza of Makin' Whoopee. Outside, recent rain in the night air cooled heads, but the spirit of the music stayed hot all the way home.