Tina May hits all the right notes in JJ Smyth's
TINA May and the Phil Ware Trio added up to a winning combination in JJ Smyth's last Monday night. Right from the opener, Sometimes I'm Happy, it was clear that the visiting singer and the local group were on the same wavelength. Caravan, composed by Juan Tizol for the Duke Ellington orchestra, got a high-energy treatment with lots of scat.
Tina May excels in fast numbers. Her samba treatment of You Go To My Head worked well, with Phil Ware (piano), Dave Redmond (bass) and Kevin Brady (drums) punching out the rhythm. Dave Brubeck's In Your Own Sweet Way provided a change of pace. Body and Soul was less successful; it suffered from too much ornamentation, distracting from the simple beauty of the tune.
The highlight of the first set was the up-tempo Beloved, a vocal version of the Clifford Brown favourite Daahoud, featuring agile scat-singing and a sparkling piano solo.
The second set opened with a tune by Ray Bryant and the sad news of his death two days previously. But there was nothing sad about Cubana Chant, a lively tribute to the American pianist. Finally, she called on the audience for a bit of participation in belting out a cheerful blues, Love Makes The World Go Round.
On Tuesday night in the John Field Room, the So Young Yoon Sextet will play the music of Thelonious Monk, under the title Monk's Mood. The Korean pianist, now living in Ireland, has put together a interesting group with Bill Blackmore (trumpet), Peter Dobai (tenor sax), Colm O'Hara (trombone), Damian Evans (bass) and Shane O'Donovan (drums).