St Andrew's Hall, Norwich
Billed as the headline act of this year's festival, beloved by telly's Michael Parkinson and trumpeted as the "queen of swing" with a new megabucks recording contract with Sony, Yorkshire lass Clare Teal had plenty to live up to.
But it was easy to see her appeal. Indeed, calling her a jazz artist doesn't really do her justice as she has much more range, tackling everything from Cole Porter to Van Morrison, from standards to power ballads. Her voice ranges from sweet and near angelic to plain ballsy and, for my money, she reigned supreme when she simply hit the throttle.
Certainly not a shrinking violet, her chatter between numbers was charming at first but became distracting as she made fun of her more touching numbers which were often her own compositions. One, originally duetted with boy wonder Jamie Cullum and called The Road Less Travelled was of special note while her version of Duke Ellington's In a Mellow Tone was another highlight.
Her band consisted of Pete Long on saxophones, Chris Dagley on drums, Simon Wallace on piano and new boy Simon Little on bass.
So with the so-called easy-listening vibe still ultra popular, Clare stands out as the only woman among the likes of Robbie, Will Young and the aforementioned Jamie Cullum. Worth supporting if only for that - look out for the new album, Don't Talk.
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