Elaine Delmar was surprisingly playing her first concert at The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival tonight at The Tron Kirk, and as her ninety minute set went on, it became very obvious what we have all been missing.

Elaine Delmar (like many other artists at the festival) is one of those people that I have heard of, but somehow just never got round to seeing as a performer…my loss up until now.

Elaine’s set tonight was pretty much a walk with her through some of the great songs of the “classic American Song-book” by great writers such as Cole Porter and George Gershwin.  On this journey we encountered classics written in many different styles, but each one was given that unique interpretation that made the song sound like it had just been written specially for Elaine.

Backing Elaine on stage tonight was a 4-piece band consisting of Paul Harrison (Piano), John Ray (Drums), Patrick Bleackley (Bass) and Jim Mullen (Guitar).  Under the discreet direction of Elaine, we were given some wonderful songs such as “Just One of Those Things”, “’S’Wonderful”, “Let’s Fall in Love” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”. Along the set, we also visited some classic stage show songs that included Elaine reprising “Honeysuckle Rose” from her 1970s “Bubbling Brown Sugar” performance.

We also got to hear a few classic numbers from “Porgy and Bess”, and were treated to a great rendition of “I Loves You Porgy”.   The song of the show tonight for me was another classic from this show “Summertime”, and Elaine’s performance of it was just beautiful.

This was simply ninety minutes of classic songs from one of the great interpreters of song.  Tonight’s show to me was more amazing when you took on-board Elaine’s introduction that, with the exception of Jim Mullen on guitar,  this was a new band to her for this Festival show. 

Elaine has an ease with an audience and a confidence on stage that really only comes with a lifetime of perfecting your art and performing. She also genuinely seemed to be having fun on-stage performing tonight, and that came over to an appreciative audience. This is someone who has not come to our stage by the modern route of being on a reality TV show, but the old fashioned way of just working very hard in a wide variety of venues over the years and perfecting stage and presentation skills to highlight what is a gifted vocal talent.  If there are any young jazz/blues singers out there just starting out that want to see just how the job is done, then go and watch Elaine Delmar in concert.  What you will learn is worth far more than the price of the ticket admission.

I can of course not forget the musicians, and it is a tribute to them that everything just worked so well on stage after such a short time together. When you have a great Jazz guitarist like Jim Mullen on stage with you though, that does of course help things an awful lot.

Review by Tom King


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