Preview: Esther Bennett on the songs of Duncan Lamont Sr.

Esther Bennett writes about the songs of Duncan Lamont Sr,. which she is singing at the Pheasantry in Kings Road on Monday November 29th.

A quick walk through Duncan Lamont Sr.'s credentials shows that he has been a studio player (often featured soloist) on tenor saxohone for Henry Mancini, Benny Goodman, Gil Evans, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby,Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney...

And that as a composer his songs have been performed and recorded by Natalie Cole, Blossom Dearie, Mark Murphy, Cleo Laine, Norma Winstone, Claire Martin and Ian Shaw...

These are songs which transport the singer and audience straight to a particular time and place, or mood or feel. The lyrical content of "Pretty People," for example, is wryly observant:


"He does something in the city she’s in fabric and design
they’re pretty people, such pretty people.
They’ve a house right on the river and a cellar full of wine,
they’re pretty people”


or try the conversational and secret-sharing intimacy of "I Didn’t Know You At All":

"I thought I knew you so well?
I never quite heard your laughter.
I took your love in my stride.
Now…..I remember your laughter."


The recent "I’ve Just Said Goodbye To The Blues" invites you to “live laugh love and Samba your cares away.”

From a personal point of view, I feel that Duncan’s lyrics reveal a deep understanding of the human condition, and of women, and that the music itself contains a great deal of soul.

As one would expect from a musician, composer and arranger of Duncan’s sophistication, the melodic lines that are often far from predictable, offering many unexpected intervals and rhythmic tricks and turns that are a joy to learn.

I am opening the show with "52nd Street." The quotes and references speak for themselves and fully illustrate a lifetime's experience and education in jazz.

Thank you Duncan. It is a privilege to work with you, and will be an honour to have you with me (and John Crawford on piano and Simon Little on bass) at The Pheasantry on Monday November 29th. I look forward to continuing to give your songs the love and respect they deserve.

PIZZA EXPRESS AT PHEASANTRY is at 152 -154 KINGS ROAD, SW3 4UT
www.pizzaexpresslive.com/ 0845 6027 017 -SHOWTIME 8.30PM / £17.50

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