A Tribute to Ella and Billie

DAVID WAKEFIELD Ashby and Thurton Village Hall


This Creative Arts East-backed mini-tour of village venues has always the chance of netting one or two converts to the genre.

Kathleen Willison (vocals), Gwilym Simcock (keyboard) and Tim Whitehead (saxes) have been visiting venues in Norfolk and Suffolk for the last few weeks, and this enjoyable sell-out gig on Saturday brought the tour to a close.

Perhaps a more suitable title would be “songs made famous by…”; for the tall and elegant Ms Willison did not try – the odd Fitzgerald scat chorus and musical nuance apart – to sing “in the style of” these two greats; indeed she would be foolish to attempt to do so. But she put her own stamp on standards like Love For Sale, Body and Soul, and They Can't Take That Away From Me, very well, backed by the underrated Tim Whitehead, on soprano and tenor saxophones, and the outstanding young pianist Gwilym Simcock, whose commanding technique induced the swing without which this performance would have been struggling. If there has been a better solo than his stomping one on Falling In Love With Love these past weeks, then I have missed it.

Well done to the organisers for working to engender a good atmosphere – and for the most ingenious raffle.

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