Concert for Breakthrough Breast Cancer
DAVID WAKEFIELD Norwich Playhouse
A high-class bill, a well-satisfied audience and a hefty donation to a worthy charity – the concert put together by city promoter Chris Bailey scored on all three counts. Four singers of widely differing styles, plus two local jazz groups, provided an excellent evening's entertainment, compered with considerable wit by Bailey himself, and Breakthrough will benefit by more than £3000 as a result.
Lee Gibson's jazz-tinged style ideally suited her selection of standards and she finished with a sizzling version of Gershwin's evergreen Lady Be Good, backed by some stunning piano playing from ITV's Trevor Brown, musical director for Pop Idol and Stars In Their Eyes.
Andra Sparks displayed a voice of considerable range and power in her spot, and Robert Harbermann swung nicely on songs like Old Devil Mood and a rollicking version of Swanee. But the surprise package, for this reviewer at least, was the performance of Scots cabaret singer Louise Rutkowski, who put on a performance of passion, poignancy and humour, accompanied by pianist Roland Perrin.
Providing the jazz element of this jazz/cabaret evening were local ensembles led by pianists Simon Brown and John Leslie. Finally, a special mention for Andy Doyle (bass) and Will Clarke (drums) from Simon's band, who also worked hard in accompanying the singers.