People like Jazz clubs. They may not listen to Jazz very often, but something about a small room filled with candle-lit tables, spread in front of a four piece band on a spot-lit stage just makes us feel a bit cooler. So, to walk into the Byre theatre and see a small table by a single candle was to be confronted by a familiar ethos, although a bit strange that the only table in Lorna Reid’s Jazz Café was the one perched on the stage next to the microphone.
The performance that followed was entirely in keeping with the setting, with Lorna Reid’s relaxed, almost melancholy voice lending a casual, placid quality to most of the genres she spanned during the evening. Accompanied by Graeme Stephen on the Guitar and Chris Greive’s nimble work with a muted trombone, Reid sang a range of jazz and blues standards, country and rock, along a few songs of her own writing, and even the odd Tom Waits cover. Reid’s voice seemed most comfortable with what she affectionately referred to as two of their ‘café classics’: ‘Little Girl Blue’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’, with cool, ambling vocals the musical equivalent of the flickering candlelight emanating from the onstage table. The latter number provided the talented Stephen some leeway to show the audience his considerable prowess as a Jazz guitarist, and during the encore, Stephen and Grieve traded fours in an upbeat rendition of ‘All of Me’, finishing the performance on a musician-pleasing high note.
The Jazz Café has its roots in Reid and Stephen’s performances in Edinburgh’s jazz clubs, and the trio’s onstage rapport creates a comfortable, easy atmosphere. The combination of Reid’s subdued jazz-diva inspired style, and the varied programme of familiar songs create a setting befitting the title of the show.
Lorna Reid is currently touring the UK, with upcoming shows in Edinburgh at Harvey Nichols on the 21st October and at Cafe Grande on the 23rd