I first saw and heard Lorna Reid back in April this year doing her “Lounge Sessions” set at the Queen’s Hall and I liked that performance a lot.  The trouble often with liking a singer so much the first time is “will they be as good next time?”  Well, on the closing night of The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival at The Tron Kirk I got my answer to that question.

In the fairly short space of time between shows, I think that Lorna Reid has improved greatly both as a singer and in confidence as a performing artist and just seemed far more comfortable in her ability to interpret and sing some classic songs in her own unique style tonight.

Backing Lorna on stage tonight was a quartet consisting of Jim Drummond on drums, Andy Sharkey on acoustic base, Euan Stevenson on piano and Graeme Stephen on guitar.

This show was pretty much a tribute to some of the great female vocalists of jazz and blues taking along the way music from Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday (to name but a few).  We also visited singers like Doris Day and of course Lorna herself with some of her own original songs.

Apart from her voice, one of the things I like about Lorna is that she does not do “straight” performances of classic songs, but new arrangements of them.  When you do this of course you are always stepping into dangerous territory as some in the audience will always want to listen to a song exactly as it sounded from the original recording they remember.  For me though, I am happy to listen to both and it is always interesting to see where a good singer and talented musicians can take a standard song with a new arrangement.  That for me is part of the quality of many of these songs, that they can be re-worked and re-interpreted in so many ways.

Lorna Reid is always on firm ground with her choice of songs, but it is what she does with those songs that is making her a strong reputation as a classic jazz, blues, easy listening singer.  Easy listening though is a bit of an odd phrase as many of these songs are anything but easy to perform – Lorna just makes them sound “easy”.

There were some great songs in this 90 minute show including the Bessie Smith classic “I Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl”.  We did however get the more “gentle” lyrics version that Nina Simone did.  Other gems included Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain”, Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee” and a great arrangement of the Doris Day classic “Secret Love”.

As well as some jazz and blues classics we were also taken on a trip through some of the great songs in the classic American song-book. To name but a few, we had George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland” and Cole Porter’s “You’re so Nice to Come Home To”

There were a few stand-out performances for me in this set though and these were a very Marilyn Monroe (hear how innocent I am) version of Rodgers and Hart’s “You Took Advantage of Me” and one of Lorna’s owns songs “Sacrifice Me” from her “Falling Like Dew” CD.

My favourite song from this show was a great version of another Rodgers and Hart classic “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”.

All in all, another evening of classic songs sung in a classic style by Lorna Reid.

If you missed this show, or want to catch up with Lorna again, then you are in luck as there are two upcoming dates in The Fringe at The Jazz Bar in Chambers Street on Monday 24th and Wednesday 26th August  – details at https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/482466-lorna-reid-all-of-me/

For more details on Lorna Reid, visit her website at

Review by

Tom King

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