Louise Dodds, Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

Rob Adams

Louise Dodds moved to London some time ago to further her career as a jazz singer but she returned to an old haunt, the Jazz Bar, to launch her new album, Fly, and was rewarded with a good turn-out and an attentive audience, at least until the lateness of the hour fostered, as it were, more relaxation.

She doesn't lack in ambition and while she realised some of her aims better than others, she was well served by her musicians, despite the fact that they were gathered together especially for the occasion and often put on the spot, if not quite grabbed outside and offered a fish supper for their trouble, as Dodds quipped.

Bassist Mario Caribe shadowed Dodds' scatting of Slam Stewart's famous bowed bass solo from Lionel Hampton's Stardust with impressive attention to detail and pianist David Patrick, as well as contributing a concisely grooving arrangement of All Or Nothing At All, accompanied Dodds's effective, dead slow reading of The Midnight Sun with a fine, rippling, nicely scene-setting chord progression.

Dodds' frontline partner for the evening, Linley Hamilton, offered some pungent trumpet descants and interjections, and the two worked well together, with discreet support from drummer Andrea Marongiu, on uptempo songs such as Thelonious Monk's I Mean You.

The overall impression of Dodds's singing is that she's still a little stiff and not entirely at ease with her chosen medium, and she's apt to slip into lazy enunciation, dropping the final "t" just a little too often for comfort. Still, she can lead a band and on the best evidence presented here, she's on the right track.

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