was in a share-house post university and one of my house mates had a copy of the Ella & Louis album. Somehow it always seemed to be playing when there were parties or friends over for drinks. The catchy lyrics and the romantic rhymes have stuck with me indelibly. I was delighted with the chance to revisit these lovely songs with a professional ensemble.
Galante began with a bright piano melange of hits; the music segued into a background for a brief verbal rundown of the 1950’s USA political scene by Craddock, resplendent in midnight blue satin. It wasn’t a pretty time but the songs moved elegantly through personal stories of love and heartbreak. Launching the evening was a flirtatious rendition of Can’t We Be Friends?
This was a classic piano trio on display. They showcased great chemistry as they worked the room. Interestingly, Hall made more of an effort to recreate the actual voice of Armstrong; husky and booming, caressing the lyrics. Craddock had a crisper tone with perfect diction and she played the soubrette to perfection. Hall seemed to delight in comic interplay with Craddock and she was more than up to his banter.
Highlights were a superb rendition of These Foolish Things with delightful trumpet and piano solos and a divine crooning version of The Nearness of You. Between songs Craddock provided interesting, if alarming, background information about the racial divide in 1950’s America.
There was a bouncy version of I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me, in which Craddock affected a near-perfect American accent. A finale of Dancing Cheek to Cheek lead to such rousing applause that Craddock entreated the management to allow just one more song before the room was cleared for the next show. Despite the tightness of time the ensemble dashed into a wonderful They Can’t Take That Away From Me.
It was a polished performance from an excellent ensemble.
Perth Fringe World 2021
Ella & Louis!
Simone Craddock, Adam Hall & Adrian Galante
Venue: The Ellington Jazz Club | 191 Beaufort Street, Perth, WA
Dates: 15 – 17 January 2021
Tickets: $40 – $30