Two singers, two styles

Diana Krall at the Albert Hall. Fine music, but something was missing:

…In mood and tone this was not that different from the days, 20-odd years ago, when she was playing to 100 or so fans at the Pizza Express Jazz Club. You couldn’t help noticing, for instance, that when the band launched into the jaunty opening number, ’Deed I Do, that it was her cultured guitarist, Anthony Wilson, who got the first extended solo… That said, the one drawback with her unassertive, collegiate approach, especially in a venue as large as this, is that a performance can lose focus… Krall’s shy, halting chat between numbers has always been part of her charm, but I do sometimes long for a little more old-fashioned showmanship. At one point she recalled happy memories of watching a set by Bobby Short, the king of New York jazz-cabaret. Imagine what would happen if a fraction of his stardust were to rub off on her.

Janie Dee, on the other hand, knows exactly how to turn a song into a drama:

If you hadn’t been able to get a ticket for the National’s revival of Follies, this was consolation of sorts. No, not another evening of wall-to-wall Sondheim; instead an opportunity to catch Janie Dee in another of her many guises, this time as a charismatic and utterly relaxed cabaret performer. Part of the pleasure of watching her shows is the knowledge that she will always seek out songs from beyond the mainstream…For Copytype Dee donned specs and transformed herself into a squeaky-voiced, Tipp-Ex-wielding typist, a character who, in these Google-fied times, is starting to resemble some relic from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The comic piece has become a staple of Dee’s repertoire, but you can never tire of listening to Alan Ayckbourn’s extraordinarily nimble, tongue-twisting lyrics.

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