I have to admit here that I only became aware of Todd Gordon as a performer earlier this year when he performed at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. Todd was appearing that night as part of another show, and I decided then that next time he came back with a full show, I had to see him perform again.
Tonight's show is with the 17 piece National Swing Orchestra, and is a tribute to the music that Frank Sinatra created over three classic albums with the Count Basie Orchestra. There are some great songs in these recordings by some of the finest writers, lyricists, and producers that American music ever offered. Included in tonight's show were classics such as Fly Me To the Moon, More, I Can't Stop Loving You (an orchestral piece tonight), Come Fly With me and many other classics over two 50 minute sets (well actually a bit longer than billed, but no one would complain about that).
Todd Gordon has that wonderful easy way with the songs and the audience that you have either got or not got...you can not fake it on these songs. He makes very complicated arrangements seem effortless. Todd loves his music and that comes across in every song. He is also very knowledgable about these songs and the history of them and the people who created them, and as he gently shares this information on stage acts as a wonderful guide to the music that he is performing so well.
I have to admit here that many of these songs I have known for many years, but somehow just overlooked them and much of the musical genre that they come with. Watching Todd perform some of these songs live the first time and seeing even more of them performed tonight shows that, great as the original recordings of these songs are, they are first and foremost songs that need to be performed live in front of an audience. With the addition of the National Swing Orchestra I got some idea tonight of just how complex in arrangement so many of these songs are (somehow I missed that on vinyl records).
Todd is (I hope he will forgive me for this) the right age to be singing many of these classic songs in the style of Sinatra. These are songs about life and the experiences of life and many of these songs would just sound out of place with a younger singer.
The encore song tonight was not from the period of the rest of the show. Instead we had a great performance by Todd and the orchestra of Frank Sinatra's later classic "New York, New York".
Go and see this man working a song and an audience the next time you get a chance. You will not be disappointed. Thank you Todd Gordon for being a great musical guide and introducing me to a musical genre I might have otherwise missed.
Review by Tom King