Lorna Reid was back At The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh tonight after far too long an away period (a little over two years), and with her onstage completing the line-up of The Lorna Reid Quintet the impressive musical talents of Euan Stevenson (piano), Konrad Wiszniewski (saxophone), Jim Drummond (drums) and John Allan (bass). Special guests for the evening also included Neil Warden (guitar and Weissenborn) and singer songwriter John Alexander.
Opening the first set with a classic rendition of one of her own songs – “Someone Brought Me An Angel”, Lorna immediately set the tone for the evening – self penned songs, new classics and familiar jazz standards like “A Tisket A Tasket”, “Come Fly With Me” and “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl” performed with classic vocals and style. There were some great arrangements of old and new songs in the sets tonight (Euan Stevenson taking credit for some of them), and Lorna’s own songwriting skills on more self-penned tracks that included “Doggone Good” and “Souls For Sale” (co-written with Neil Warden) show not only what a gifted songwriter Lorna Reid is in her own right, but also how seamlessly these songs can fit into a set alongside the older jazz standards. Part of that seamless integration must of course go to the talents of the members of the Quintet too.
Set two was a change of pace and style as John Alexander joined Lorna on stage for a few songs. There are always two sides to Lorna Reid – the classic jazz singer and songwriter and the more Americana country and folk singer and songwriter. John Alexander is part of that other side of Lorna as a performer and together they are the song writing duo “Rain Reserve”, and if the quality of “Beyond The Blue” is an indicator of what is to come from this team, then the coming years should provide some interesting music. “Rain Reserve” will be performing some shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
As a songwriter Lorna Reid is constantly working with other writers, and two great songs in the set list tonight – “My Anchor” (co-written with Boo Hewardine) and “Sweet Baby Blue” (co-written with Darden Smith) clearly show how fruitful these artistic partnerships are. “Sweet Baby Blue” is still at the moment my favourite song from Lorna…although a great arrangement of “Can’t Rain On My Parade” in tonight’s set is coming up a close second now.
It’s no secret on this website that we like Lorna Reid and her Trio, Quartet, Quintet (or whatever), and other review schedules have not made it possible to catch up with Lorna Reid since the start of the year, and as always, this show is better than the last one. Lorna Reid simply keeps growing as a singer, performer and songwriter. The Queen’s Hall itself is a perfect venue for Lorna as the very special natural acoustics in the hall are a perfect complement for a very special voice. Lorna Reid has reached a point that few singers reach, and that is not just singing the songs, but somehow just letting the words and the music flow through her in seemingly effortless and ever changing interpretations of the words and the music. No two shows and no two songs (or even the same song) are ever the same…what is always the same though is classic songs with classic delivery and style.
A great show with The Lorna Reid Quintet at the best I have ever seen them. Always good to see John Alexander and Neil Warden on stage too as their very laid back performance styles can at times hide just how good they both are.