Zoe Gilby Quartet

Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion (Photo © Garry Corbett)

Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion (Photo © Garry Corbett)

Picture and review by Garry Corbett

Symphony Hall Cafe Bar

Zoe Gilby and her band made their first Jazzlines Commuter Jazz appearance on Friday, having failed in an attempt to make the gig a year previously due to unforeseen traffic hold-ups in Sheffield. Thankfully for the large audience at Symphony Hall Level 3 Bar, this time they made it. It was worth the wait.

Two sets of fine jazz interspersed with Zoe’s amusing anecdotal introductions made for an entertaining evening. The material was largely drawn from her most recent album Twelve Stories (33Records) with self penned songs alongside some less than obvious choices of material from other composers which worked extremely well with Zoe’s originals. Of these Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand, delivered as a duet with her bass player husband Andy Champion, worked extremely well and Belfast, a beautiful ballad by the late Phil Lynott, was outstanding.

The first set closer, That Old Black Magic, taken at high speed, fared less well and to my ears stood out as though it belonged to a different concert.  The second set feature of Monk’s Straight No Chaser worked much better and was one of several numbers to highlight Gilby’s excellent clarity of sound and diction. In fact every word to every lyric was clearly audible, regardless of pace.

It was the original material which really shone, notably The Midnight Bell, inspired by a Patrick Hamilton novel Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky and the second set closer, Red City, a portrait of Marrakech complete with dusty streets, the vivid colours, smells and sounds of the Souk. There was some particularly atmospheric guitar work from Mark Williams which together with Gilby’s extraordinary vocalise took us straight to the heart and atmosphere of that extraordinary place.

More power to Jazzlines for bringing music of this calibre to the audience for free at five o’clock on a Friday afternoon. Long may they continue to do so.

  • See more of Garry Corbett’s photographs on his Flickr page HERE.

Categories: Live review

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