What a pleasure to be out and about again and especially in the cosy, relaxed atmosphere of The Ellington after such a long absence of live performance.

Lucy Iffla (21) is a true find. In her fourth and final year of Jazz Studies at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts she demonstrates a maturity well beyond her years. Iffla showed immaculate phrasing and a warm stage presence which immediately drew the audience onside. The liquid-voiced jazz whisperer dedicated the show to the luscious songs “That get us through the covid!”

A coherent ensemble did her proud. Jamie Oehlers gave some exceptional tenor sax solos and Russell Holmes was just perfect on piano. Of course these two are veterans on the jazz scene but they were well accompanied by newbies, the very young but talented Alistair Peel on bass and Cameron Fermoyle on drums.

Opening with an original song by local composer Rick Webster, Golden Tree was lovely. Thence to a beguiling, cleverly extemporized version of the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun. A change of pace was the amusingly direct Never Will I Marry, followed by a softly focussed, sultry But Beautiful. Here Iffla managed the sometimes difficult passages with absolute ease. Another Webster creation Kings of War was a bold and interesting finish to the first set. I particularly enjoyed Iffla’s venture into some skat. Simplistic, appealing and delicate, never harsh which is so often the case.

Set two opened with a relaxed version of Norwegian Wood, with a slightly syncopated vibe, which allowed excellent solos by sax, piano, bass and drums. Comfortable, also by Webster, was a heart breaking story of kisses, promises and eventual fallout. Again featuring delicious solos from Oehlers and Holmes. I’m In the Mood for Love set the tone to move into the achingly romantic Leave Me with the Light On. Iffla demonstrated her full vocal range in an unusual version of Moon River. Her timing was clever and there was colour and depth in the ups and downs of the scales.

It as was a very satisfying evening of song and a delight to be introduced to (to this reviewer) a new and marvellous voice. This was a one off show but The Ellington has promised there will be future performances by Iffla. Keep an eye out!

Event details

The Ellington Jazz Club
Shufflin' With Friends
Lucy Iffla

Venue: Ellington Jazz Club | 191 Beaufort St Perth
Dates: 14 August 2020
Bookings: www.ellingtonjazz.com.au

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