Jazz at Orford

The Joanna Eden Trio: Picnic Jazz at The Pavilion, Orford, August 5

The Joanna Eden Trio: Picnic Jazz at The Pavilion, Orford, August 5

Picture the scene - the dreamy setting of The Pavilion, one of Orford's most elegant houses with its exquisite gardens, the warmest day of the summer combining with a cool sea breeze, a refreshment tent that offered perhaps the best Victoria Sponge in world history, a friendly and welcoming committee pouring a glass of Pimms or seven, and an afternoon listening to one of the best singer/pianists in British jazz…well, it sure beats being a bank clerk!

The vocalist in question was Joanna Eden, headlining the fifth Picnic Jazz concert, a charitable event that has now become an essential fixture in the East Anglian Jazz calendar. The enthusiastic and sophisticated audience quickly warmed to the singer and her tour de force through the standard songbook and Sixties pop in a style that echoed such great voices as Dionne Warwick and Laura Nyro - and there was much of Dionne's lightness of touch and Laura's tenderness in Miss Eden's performance.

Joanna's recent CD Moving Shadows includes superb takes of Alfie, Yesterday, A Night in Tunisia, Nature Boy and A Taste Of Honey, which tunes comprised much of her repertoire at Orford. Let's Stay Together captured much of the euphoria of Al Green's original and she showcased her inventive and understated piano playing on Cry Me A River before a delicate version of the Norah Jones song Don't Know Why concluded her highly accessible programme.


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Drummer Charlie Price and Julie Walkington on double bass comprised an immaculate and spirited rhythm section for a young chanteuse surely destined for a major label recording contract and much of the success of her predecessors at The Pavilion, Jamie Cullum and Gwyneth Herbert. If the emphasis was on covers from the Beatles to Bacharach on a leisurely summer's afternoon, a few originals made the point that Joanna Eden is also a most accomplished songwriter.

The afternoon began with short sets from three local performers that did much to set the happy picnic mood - the assured pianist Nick Raison preceded that fine singer/guitarist Ben Scarce playing Cat Stevens, Oasis and his own songs before Nick joined Natasha Hodge: Natasha's stagecraft, her ability to savour a lyric and her engaging vocals were early highlights.

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Donald Muir

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