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Sunday Swing Time at 606 with Rachel Sutton

5 STARS

JAZZ club 606, led from the front for more than 40 years by the inimitable Steve Rubie, provides an appetising fare of live music seven days a week. Come rain or shine, spring or winter solstice.

Yet Rubie, an accomplished saxophonist and flutist, is not content with keeping open the 606 Club until the witching hour every night. He also serves up music on a Sunday lunchtime – together with a mean roast for those in need of accompanying sustenance. Lamb (with mince sauce, if you ask kindly) or chicken.

There are even options for vegetarians (squash, mushroom, spinach and Roquefort cheese in a filo pastry wrap) while the wine menu is good and sensibly priced (the organic Spanish Verdejo goes down a treat).

For those who like a lazy afternoon being wined, dined and entertained, 606 supplies all the Sunday indulgences you will need to put a smile back on your face and push all your troubles to one side.

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Sunday lunchtime at 606 is a somewhat eclectic musical experience Over the next month, Rubie has on his Sunday menu gospel singer Natalie Phillips (April 8), blues singer Melissa James (22nd) and a tribute to the late percussionist Dawson Miller (29th). If Rachel Sutton’s performance at 606 on April 1 is a taste of what is to come, Sunday comers are in store for some treats along the way.

Tall, sassy and on occasion not frightened to be a little racy with the audience, Sutton has a rich velvety voice which does justice to the mix of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday Cole Porter and Peggy Lee songs which formed the core of her set.

Night And Day, Why Don’t You Do Right? Love For Sale, All The Things You Are, I’m A Woman and My Heart Belongs To Daddy are all delivered with great feeling. She also knows how to move her body to the music. At times, she is almost writhing on stage – not bad for a wet and cold Sunday afternoon in London’s Chelsea. She is also witty with it, confirming the fact that if she had not become a singer, Sutton would have been as comfortable treading the boards.

She also interspersed her set with numbers from her own songbook, including Henri (a song about a naughty Frenchman), Pick Myself Up and the witty Kiss My Baby Goodbye, a lament to the loss of a young lover. In fact, Sutton talks a lot about love and lovers, often fluttering her eye lashes and swinging her hips in the direction of Roland Perrin on piano, her husband.

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The audience were also treated to a version of Nat King Cole’s I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face and Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind.

Perrin is excellent as are deadpan drummer Paul Robinson and bass guitarist Curtis Ruiz who when asked does a great impersonation of Barry White (a voice deep as a canyon in the Rockies). Even Rubie joined in at the end, displaying his talent with the flute on versions of Gershwin’s It Ain’t Necessarily So (Porgy and Bess) and My Heart Belongs To Daddy.

Even the audience were not let off the hook as they were asked to join in the chorus line of I’m A Woman – first men, then women. Sutton, of course, having a laugh.

Rachel Sutton is slowly returning to live music after having a child (now three years old) and the summer should see the issue of a new EP.

She is a sublime live talent who is maybe a little under-rated and under-appreciated. If she wanted to, she could swing higher. I do hope so. She’s got what it takes. She really has.

Click for more Rachel Sutton

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