Glee Club Studio
It’s not easy being a singer. First of all there is no external instrument to help produce the right sound; the singer is the instrument. Then there are those twisting and turning melody lines to negotiate. And to top it all there are these pesky things called lyrics.
There are countless singers who, blessed with good vocal cords and a good musical memory, are able to master those first two steps. But it’s the special few who make sense of step three. And Sara Colman is one of those. She doesn’t just make a lovely sound floating over the surface of melody and words; she takes up residence in the song.
And her musical home has many rooms – jazz standards like I’m Beginning to To See The Light, contemporary songs by Joni Mitchell, Walter Becker and India Arie, her own songs, and those of friends like Jacqui Dankworth. They have striking images in them – stars implode, there are subliminal messages on the TV – and they centre, of course, upon the euphoria and despair that are integral to affairs of the heart.
This gig, in the intimate smaller room at the Glee Club, was to launch her new album, called Ready and officially out next month on the Q-note label. With a trio of Chris Taylor on piano, Ben Markland on bass and Carl Hemmingsley on drums, Sara worked her way through the album, showing what they did in the studio they can do on stage, with great character and finesse.
I think it’s also a measure of her musical stature and personable warmth that Sara inspires musicians so – this was a band playing at the top of its game. Great sound, great room, audience in the palm of her hand. An unqualified success.
Warm up act was the lively Leo Altarelli, this time singing and playing with fellow guitarist Tom Robbins. Funky and fun – think Flight of the Conchords without the jokes.