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Glasgow Jazz Festival

Glasgow Art Club, Friday 1st July 2011

Stephen Duffy and Richard Michael are probably best known as presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s The Jazz House and as a jazz educator; but they’re also a more than decent jazz singer and a good swinging mainstream pianist respectively. On Friday night it was this performing side which came to the fore. Joined by Paul Michael on bass (Richard’s nephew) and Warren Vaché on cornet they performed a selection of songs by Duke Ellington to a more-or-less full house.

As well as a lot of Ellington’s best-known numbers, the set list contained a couple of less obvious choices (a Beatrix Potter influenced vocalese version of “Cottontail” and the William Shakespeare – Duke Ellington collaboration “Sonnet for Hank Cinq” – tongue-twisters both!).

The quartet worked a bit of variety into the sound by using different combinations of instruments. Vaché sat some numbers out, there was at least one piano and vocal song, and there was a very good bass and voice duo performance (of “Just Squeeze Me”, if I remember correctly).

A most enjoyable evening: exactly the sort of relaxed swinging jazz I was in the mood for that night.

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