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Mancio's voice was distinctive, natural, often husky, smooth, not often vibrato-filled, and she displayed admirable control of the suave slinky numbers, always with some fascinating harmonic waywardness, as well as the springy faster numbers, her diction always clear, to help one enter into the spirit of each song. John Pearce's pianism throughout displayed immense professionalism and imagination, reflecting years of experience in bands across the country including distinguished orchestras (BBC Radio Orchestra); Cranenburgh's harmonic explorations were impressive and engaging, and Walkington's bass solos were always clearly articulated.
The first two numbers were Georgie Fame's 'Misty Night' and an adaptation of 'I've grown accustomed to his face' from My Fair Lady, first without piano, and the guitar solos were really extraordinarily adventurous, feeling their way around complex jazz harmonies and retrieving their targets back in key and bar lines. Julie London's Give me the Simple Life was buoyant and bristling, with a zestful piano solo, and indeed John Pearce's virtuosity and nimble fingered rhapsodising also increased in its glow throughout. The Chilean song Thank you to Life concluded the first set with inner vibrancy, Georgia Mancio's improvising enhancing its minor Iberian jazz mode with suave sinewy resonance.
The second set began with an unusual number by Oscar Browne Jnr, Long as You're Living (Browne died last year). Its chordal pattern is clearly based on Brubeck's Take Five, with a breezy melody explored in some wayward solos by all three instrumentalists.
Copyright © 7 February 2006
Malcolm Miller, London UK