REVIEW: Camilla George + Sarah Tandy at the Purcell Room (2018 EFG LJF)

L-R Cherise Adams-Burnett, Sheila Maurice-Grey,
Camilla George
Photo credit: Funkyfeet

Camilla George + Sarah Tandy
(Purcell Room, 23 November 2018. EFG London Jazz Festival. Review by Charlie Anderson)

Camilla George’s debut album, Isang, was critically acclaimed back in 2017 and her follow up, The People Could Fly, was released this year. For the EFG London Jazz Festival she had assembled many of the performers who augmented her regular quartet on the album, together with guest kora player Kadialy Kouyate.

The performance opened with a solo set from George’s regular pianist Sarah Tandy who, together with Ashley Henry and Joe Armon-Jones, is one of the best pianists amongst the current new wave of London jazz talent. Tandy performed some beautiful interpretations of jazz standards such as Body And Soul and Save Your Love For Me, together with her tribute to Nat King Cole on the lesser-known standard Just You, Just Me. As well as exhibiting her technical virtuosity with rhapsodic playing, fast runs and an ability to play multiple parts seamlessly, she also showed a more delicate and tender side during the ballads. Her much anticipated debut album is set to be released next year.

Sarah Tandy and Cherise Adams-Burnett
Photo credit:Funkyfeet

Camilla George began her set with the first track from her latest album The People Could Fly, entitled Tappin the Land Turtle which featured the effervescent vocals of talented vocalist Cherise Adams-Burnett and a highly enjoyable and upbeat solo from guitarist Shirley Tetteh.

With so much talent on display, bandleader Camilla George was almost overshadowed, were it not for the mature and imaginative compositions combined with some sublime saxophone solos, particularly on the ballads, such as Little Eight John, which featured delicate vocals from Adams-Burnett and a moving solo from bassist Daniel Casimir.

After playing most of the tracks from the album, they performed the final track from the album, the Curtis Mayfield composition Here But I’m Gone, a harrowing tune on the theme of drug addiction. Joined by trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey, she displayed her prodigious technique in combination with a superb rhythmic sensibility. Pianist Sarah Tandy also proved her versatility, as she switched between keyboard and piano.

Winston Clifford remained a strong and dependable force behind the drum kit for the whole concert with some tight and responsive playing, particularly on the final number.

For the final part of the concert, the band were joined by guest kora player Kadialy Kouyate who sang and performed on some of his own tunes. He also performed on some intriguing co-compositions, recently written with bandleader Camilla George, which will hopefully be recorded in the near future.

LINE-UP

Camilla George: alto sax
Sarah Tandy: piano
Daniel Casimir: bass (upright and electric)
Winston Clifford: drums
Kadialy Kouyate: kora
Cherise Adams-Burnett: vocals
Shirley Tetteh: guitar
Sheila Maurice Grey: trumpet

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