Red hot for all that jazz
Fran Barton and the Kevin Clark Group, Jazz and other stuff
Mana Little Theatre, November 25. Reviewed by Sol Weinstein A typical Kevin Clark and Fran Barton jazz concert is akin to a plump packet of liquorice allsorts bits - You never know what luscious lolly is next to burst out.
The recent Mana Little Theatre concert was called ‘‘Jazz and other stuff’’ – it showed the ace keyboardist/trumpeter and the vocalising blonde Barton wowing the packed house with a shower of awesome versatility.
And why not? Clark, an architect from South Africa, and Barton, a one-time folk singer from London, have been doing this together for 40 years.
It’s like watching one polished product after another rolling off the assembly line.
Great Broadway ballads and jump tunes with any kind of Tom Jones’ socko Delilah to end up with a Welsh- Russian mishmash.
Later on comes a kind of bopflavoured scat song with Barton leading the pack in a racehorse tempo based on old man Brahms’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.5.
On and on the ever-changing evening rolls, with our principals ably backed by bassist Rowan Clark, whom I first saw 10 years ago at a Kevin Clark (no relation) gig in the bed department of Kirkaldie & Stains, of all places.
I never got to meet Kirkaldie but the painter with the red and green blotches on his knees must surely have been Stains.
And finally, young Lauren Ellis, a hot new drummer who just finished her Kiwi jazz school course with honours, filled in nicely when John Rae couldn’t make it. She’s off soon to the States on her jazz OE.
Let’s hope Mana Little Theatre is on the schedule again soon for a Clark-barton rerun.