Lorna Reid played to a full capacity audience at the Piccolo in George Square Gardens tonight with an impressive set marking her always welcome return to The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. With Lorna on stage tonight were Neil Warden (guitar and Weissenborn), Jim Drummond (Drums), Campbell Normand (Piano), Andy Sharkey (Bass) and John Burgess (Saxophone).
It’s been far too long since I caught up with Lorna Reid (last year’s Fringe) and this set reminded me very quickly, with its mixture of timeless classics and self penned songs, that Lorna is not only one of the best jazz vocalists to come out of Scotland in a long time, but also, and sometimes overlooked by her vocal ability, one of the best songwriters too.
Our evening’s set opened with the Ella Fitzgerald standard “A Tisket a Tasket”, and later with an effortlessly cool version of the Rodgers & Hart ageless classic and title of this show –“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”. Blending in seamlessly with the musical standards were some self-penned songs from Lorna Reid (or Lorna and co-writers). ”Doggone Good”, “My Anchor” (co-written with Boo Hewardine) and “Sweet Baby Blue” are always some of my favourites, and Lorna was on top vocal form with all of them tonight. Every songwriter seems to inadvertently create that one song that takes on a life on its own, and for Lorna, that one is “My Hotel Wrecking Days Are Over”. It is a song skilfully written to be adaptable to so many different arrangements and still somehow retain its core structure.
“Sweet Baby Blue”, co-written with country songwriter Darden Smith is still one of my favourite (if not my favourite) songs from Lorna over the last few years, and making adjustments in the usual arrangement for a little technical hitch, Lorna delivered what I consider to be her best performance of this song to date that I have heard. All the power and emotion of this song are (and have always been) in Lorna’s voice, so it was a pleasure to hear those vocals used to full effect on this one tonight.
Simply a classic performance from Lorna Reid. A lesson to any aspiring singers in this year’s jazz festival in how to make the difficult look effortless.
This show was sold out, but there are a few other chances to catch up with “Lorna Reid - Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year with two shows at the Jazz Bar in Chambers Street on 10th and 11th August.
Review by Tom King