Review: Carol Kidd with Brian Kellock: Summertime – an evening with Gershwin, Queen’s Hall

When you consider Carol Kidd has received the admiration of Frank Sinatra, performed for the Cambodian Royal Family, and won more awards than you can wave your jazz-hands at – the last thing you might expect the MBE to say onstage is (hold on while I) “scratch my arse”.

Well, no-one ever said the Scottish jazz singer was lacking in audacity.

Such quips are part of Kidd’s appeal – a balladeer who can make you cry with her singing, and make wine come out your nose with laughter – and it was just one of many wisecracks during last night’s relaxing soiree.

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She warned the audience to switch off their mobile phones, when, at a previous gig, a ringing interruption that interfered with the PA system turned out to be of her own phone’s making. She cheekily cajoled two people in the audience into providing her with some mid-set “refreshment”, and when the sound of a squeaking bottle of booze distracted her – “was that someone taking their teeth out, or putting them in?” kidded Kidd.

Oh, and there was some music going on too.

Wearing a dazzlingly sparkly dress, and with Kidd’s regular sideman Brian Kellock tinkling the ivories alongside her, this 100-minute show focusing on Gershwin’s music was everything you’d expect it to be from two jazz greats. Deliciously rhythmic and meltingly melodic, under Kidd and Kellock’s guidance, the French influence of Gershwin’s music couldn’t fail to cast you back to the early twentieth century and the consciousness of that time.

For instance, the dextrous elasticity of Kidd’s phrasing on Someone to Watch Over Me, The Man I Love and It Ain’t Necessarily So was simply a marvel to behold. Kellock, meanwhile, perfected the aural equivalent of snow falling, rain dripping and two lovers kissing under moonlight with nonchalant ease.

The absence of bass and drums was a minor miff, and the Queen’s Hall – lovely as it is – isn’t quite the perfect fit for the cosiness this kind of show demands. That said, if Kidd ’n’ Kellock were playing in a public toilet you’d happily watch them there too. Second thoughts, scratch that, Carol.

Rating: ****