Jazz duo make a big impression

Alison Burns and Martin Taylor, Haverhill Arts Centre, Thursday, June 17 WHILE the sheer artistry of guitarist Martin Taylor is renowned throughout the musical world the same might not be said of singer Alison Burns who shared the stage with the maestro at this Haverhill Festival concert.

Alison Burns and Martin Taylor, Haverhill Arts Centre, Thursday, June 17

WHILE the sheer artistry of guitarist Martin Taylor is renowned throughout the musical world the same might not be said of singer Alison Burns who shared the stage with the maestro at this Haverhill Festival concert.

But on this showing Ms Burns certainly deserves a much wider recognition. Here's a singer who just loves to sing and she has no ambition to follow the pop route.

"I just like to sing lovely melodic songs and sing them well" she confided after the show.


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And that's just what she did.

Clearly, Ms Burns had chosen her material with a great deal of care, and so we had such familiar songs as I'll Take Romance, which opened the set as well as such delights as Sophisticated Lady and a slow version of The Good Life… though not the theme from the popular television situation comedy.

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Ms Burns specialises in songs that are melodic and tell a story and she makes sure that those stories can be heard. There are not many singers on the current scene with such vocal clarity that you can hear every word.

Most of the songs were familiar ones; like Because of You, which made opera singer Mario Lanza a household name back in the 1950s and the Judy Garland number, The Man That Got Away, but in between she sandwiched one or two little known gems like No One Ever Tells You in Time and Drop Me A Line which was first presented by the Dinning Sisters in the glory days of the big Hollywood musicals.

In our after show chat, Ms Burns pointed out that the Dinning Sisters were very big in their day and as well as having a major hit with Buttons and Bows, from the film The Paleface with Bob Hope and Jane Russell; they were also involved in the music for the legendary Walt Disney film, Fantasia.

Alison Burns has been singularly fortunate in becoming Martin Taylor's daughter-in-law, and she is even more fortunate in having such a talented accompanist.

Played by such a virtuoso performer as Martin Taylor, the guitar provides a warmth that the solo piano really cannot match, and Taylor's jazz style makes every song swing along. No Martin Taylor appearance is complete without a couple of spots highlighting his own particular talents and he gave us cracking versions of Toots Thielman's Bluesette and Don't Know Why, a recent hit for singer Norah Jones.

Alison Burns and Martin Taylor are currently promoting their first ever CD together, 1:am, that was released last week and the promotional tour takes them to Ronnie Scott's Club in London.

In a world that is seemingly packed with waifer thin, little-girl-lost voices, here's a singer with a mature voice who uses it to full effect. No vocal gymnastics, just songs sung well and she deserves to go well beyond a couple of appearances at Ronnie Scott's.

Alan Crumpton

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