Trudy Kerr and the Michael Garrick Trio 19 September 2009 - Scarborough Jazz Festival

Michael Garrick’s lyrical compositions rank among my favourites, and his precise, careful playing fits with Trudy Kerr’s meticulous intonation and elegant swing. This was reason enough to look forward to tonight’s set. I am also a firm believer in the dictum that you need a strong jazz singer on stage about half way through the festival. Most popular music has featured the voice heavily, and while I’m a fanatic about jazz playing, getting back to a singer is a refreshing restorative 15 hours into a festival.

Australian expatriate TRUDY KERR is another artist who understands the importance of seducing the public. A combination of artful programming and assured arrangements has made her one of the country's most polished singers. At Ronnie Scott's all this week, she has the imposing task of preceding Hugh Masekala on stage. After her haunting ballad performance on All the Way, her trio slipped easily in and out of a straight four-to-the-bar beat on My Resistance is Low. A few years ago Kerr still sounded as if she was processing different vocal influences. Now she is coming into her own. The new album Day Dream gives a taste of that maturity, but the bandstand is where she truly flourishes.

Her Sassy vocal style is very much in the manner of the American greats and she delivered a compelling performance. Whether a sweet wistful ballad or a tough upbeat tune she remained sincere and convincing. Highlights of the evening included TOUCH OF PARADISE. The influence of gospel and soul were most evident throughout this tender tune. YOU'RE EVERYTHING would tax the most agile of singers, but presented no problem for Kerr who made every difficult chord change seem natural. Since Trudy's arrival on these shores she has gained a reputation as one of the most important acts around. With gigs like this there is every likelihood that her star will rise and rise.

Kerr is an engaging performer who likes to give her all. She moves confidently between standards and ballads, adding in contemporary material to give her set a degree of variety. She can change easily from her opening role as a torch singer on TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE and become a hip strutter on I'VE GOT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING, before tackling NO MORE BLUES, extending her range to achingly high limits. There is also a more soulful side to her, the echoes of Aretha Franklin coming through as he attacks and pushes her numbers through to a forceful climax.

The Stage Newspaper, Oct 1998