IF you want a dose of live music to smooth over troubled waters, may I suggest you get a phial of Clare Teal. For sure, she will lift your spirits in a note. Music to make you feel better.
Although Teal has enjoyed great success as a jazz singer and radio presenter – she now appears on Radio Jazz FM on a Sunday night – she has never lost her roots. The county of Yorkshire courses through her veins – in very much the same way as it did with the late Victoria Wood.
The result is a performer who connects with audiences straightaway. No airs or graces. Just plain talking and some mighty fine interpretations of songs old and new. She’s like a welcome comfort blanket.
At Piano Smithfield (London) on Thursday April 13, Teal was performing (twice) as part of the club’s ‘’Jazzy Thursdays’ (next up are guitarist Nicolas Meier on April 20 and Louise Clare Marshall on April 27). Jazzy Thursdays is a series of performances co-ordinated by the swashbuckling John Billett of JBGB Events who has been around a few blocks and more besides. As Teal said: ‘Live music on a Thursday? It’s all the rage!’
On stage with Teal was acclaimed jazz pianist Jason Rebello whose fingers weave magic every time they go anywhere near a piano.
It’s a stage partnership that works effectively, Teal giving Rebello every opportunity to demonstrate his huge talent.
Teal is no conformist – and it showed in a play list that embraced the old and new. So the audience were treated to the very best of Doris Day (The Song Is You), Cole Porter (Let’s Do It), Louis Armstrong (Be Happy Again), Peggy Lee (It’s A Good Day) and Sinatra (Wave and Just The Way You Look Tonight).
Alongside these classics, Teal delivered some magical interpretations of more recent music – an ambitious (and catchy) Tainted Love: a beautiful version of Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars; and Paul McCartney’s classic Blackbird.
Along the way, there was time for Rebello to demonstrate his talent for telling jokes (stick to music, my friend), Teal to declare her love for Peggy Lee, and Billett to reveal that Teal is a dab hand with a paint brush and emulsion.
The biggest tribute to Teal and Rebello’s double act is that three individuals stayed after the early show and treated themselves to it all over again. Jazzy Thursdays times two.
If you’re in London and fancy some live music at an atmospheric venue where you can’t swing a cat, Piano Smithfield will be right up your street. Cocktails to die for (and suffer for afterwards) and rather tasty pizzas to keep hunger pangs at bay.