Review: Elaine Delmar at Crazy Coqs

Elaine Delmar at Crazy Coqs.
Photo credit: Marcos Bevilacqua

Review Elaine Delmar
(Crazy Coqs. 19th February 2013. First night of five. Review by Frank Griffith)


Jazz singer extraordinaire Elaine Delmar presided brilliantly at the newly opened Crazy Coqs cabaret venue in the Brasserie Zedel complex in Piccadilly. It’s heartwarming to see that her stint is running a full week (Tuesday- Saturday) with  this being the opening  night. This harks back to the time when all gigs of this nature were week long residencies, a rarity nowadays.

Supported by pianist Brian Dee and Jim Mullen on guitar, Miss Delmar was in top hands throughout as their accompanying skills were evenly matched by their  refreshingly inspired solo forays.

Performing a largely Gershwin programme, Delmar provided the audience with bits of chat about the songs without evolving into lecturing or overegging the pudding. She delivered what the punters wanted. Songs. Her voice and interpretations did not disappoint as her  poised elegance achieved an equal balance of emotion and technical perfection. The inclusion of a few non-Gershwin selections also brought out her versatility. Amongst these were a whirlwind reading of Noel Coward’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen as well as a (double) encore of Murray Grand’s Guess Who I Saw Today (from Broadway’s New Faces of 1952 revue) and Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose to finally close the proceedings. Elaine’s eighty minute show included no less than twenty songs most of which were quite familiar Gershwin titles and clearly satisfied both camps- the jazzer and the “cabaret-ster”.

For this listener, particularly memorable moments were Isn’t It A Pity with Delmar’s searching vocal supported by Jim’s “Mullencholy” guitar. Never one to resist an opportunity to sneak in a cheeky  quote he managed a brief oriental fanfare in reaction to the lyric “Somewhere in China” at the end of the bridge. Classic. The trio’s version of Love Walked In featured a spirited and rollicking solo from Brian Dee, highly regarded as a top vocal accompanist, and longtime pianist with Elaine Delmar.

A superb evening had by all - please book now for this week as seats will go fast, I’m sure.  

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