Pitchblenders, Valvona & Crolla (Venue 67) ****
Yet it might have gone pear-shaped for this first Fringe night of the Pitchblenders, a quartet of seasoned Scottish jazzers fronted by young singer Christine Adams, specialising in classic swing, blues and bossa.
Their regular trumpeter, Colin Steele, was indisposed, so guitarist Phil Adams (Christine’s father) and bassist Jerry Forde were joined at short notice by another regular associate, ubiquitous reedsman Dick Lee, who, rather than having a quiet night in, stepped up with panache, toting everything from bass clarinet to piccolo. Valvona’s is such an intimate space that the band are virtually in your lap, there is much good-humoured banter and it’s the only time I’ve heard a jazz player breathlessly declare, “Not finished yet” when the audience clapped during their solo.
They opened with Rose Murphy’s sassy Busy Line, which showcased Christine’s high-pitched vocals and allowed the three instrumentalists to effectively declare their credentials. Lee’s bass clarinet rumbled and fluted though Blue Moon which, with a crisp guitar solo from Phil and Forde’s walking bass line, strolled along nicely.
Lee’s soprano sax keened an introduction to a Cotton Club classic, Tishomingo Blues, before the slinky vocals sidled alongside, guitar chiming unhurriedly. Her singing floated piquantly over a bossa shuffle in the next number and the Portuguese excursion continued with the stately glide of Carnival Morning from Black Orpheus.
They wound up with the sweet and timeless La Vie en Rose. For an intimate hour’s show, you couldn’t ask for more – but we did
• Until 20 August. Friday 1pm