Gig review: Christine Tobin

CHRISTINE Tobin has long stood out on the UK jazz scene as a singer of exceptional quality, and an artist with an unusually broad reach when it comes to repertoire and influences.

Christine Tobin. Picture: Contributed
Christine Tobin. Picture: Contributed

Christine Tobin - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh


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This concert focused largely, but not exclusively, on her latest project, an excellent album of songs by Leonard Cohen.

Jazz singers taking on material from rock and pop genres can be fraught with disappointments and misunderstandings, but Tobin has the surest of grips on Cohen’s intense, enigmatic songs, and trod the fine line between honouring the original and impressing her own stamp on the song with unerring accuracy.

“I was born with the gift of a golden voice,” she sang in a superb version of Tower of Song, and Cohen’s words were entirely appropriate in the context of what we were hearing. The warmth and lustre of that voice were matched by an equally spellbinding grip on phrasing and delivery, backed by the sensitive accompaniments and fine solos of her husband, guitarist Phil Robson, and bass player Dave Whitford.

She ranged widely through Cohen’s voluminous repertoire, all in her thoughtful and apposite arrangements. Joni Mitchell’s The Priest, John Martyn’s Go Down Easy and two jazz standards added variety to a sparkling performance.

Seen on 28.05.14