Lee Gibson and Geoff Eales, Drayton

CHARLES ROBERTS This is not a case of a terrific jazz singer and an accompanist. Its two stars are in harmony, with equal billing and deserving to share every minute of the spotlight.

CHARLES ROBERTS

This is not a case of a terrific jazz singer and an accompanist. Its two stars are in harmony, with equal billing and deserving to share every minute of the spotlight.

The Great American Songbook, as Miss Gibson titles the show (another Christopher Bailey promotion, by the way, in association with the venue hotel – the Strower Grange Hotel, Drayton) covers a beguiling span of years and song.

Lee slides in, easy as slicing through butter, with Lullaby of Broadway, and it admirably sets the scene – a voice made for jazz, throaty and loving life, and guided by a technique honed to perfection.

Then she turns to the daddy of them all, Jerome Kern, and a medley to set the years rolling back and the toes tapping, powered by orchestral dynamics.

Irving Berlin followed, dancing into Alexander's Ragtime Band, Gibson summoning up a whole honky-tonk band, with Eales adding a fair wallop of decorative trills.

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There is Richard Rogers, Cole Porter, Hoagie Carmichael, and many more besides… and Geoff Eales with a showbiz, brilliant solo to boot...26 minutes of Rhapsody in Blue reduced to four minutes. Terrific!

If there was a favourite Gibson among so many jewels, it was Somewhere Over the Rainbow, glitteringly given the sassiest, smoothest, most stylish jazz makeover, with Eales sliding down the Yellow Brick Road, easy as oil on a Tin Man.

And, to round it off, high-powered vocal pyrotechnics from Miss Gibson.

As Satchmo observed: “That's jazz!”

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