73 years old but still a gifted performer and jazzman, Georgie Fame proves that nobody stole his thunder as The Verse’s Lorenzo Ottone witnessed.
One of British most gifted jazzmen, Fame performed at Hastings White Rock Theatre on Monday, March 27th, with what could be defined a show rather than a gig.
If usually songs are introduced by brief statements, Fame did the opposite nearly using songs as support to his anecdotes. With such experience and life as Fame’s, this kind of performance – also to preserve Fame’s lungs – resulted enjoyable, probably more than a straight music-only gig.
Anecdotes from ‘60s Soho scene brought the audience directly into clubs as The Flamingo and evoking the smell of cigarettes, the taste of whisky and the euphoria of jazz and blues rhythms.
Hilarious was the story of how Roger Moore stole all the attention of girls waiting for the flight to Sweden where both the young Fame and the established actor were flying, in different classes, obviously.
Plenty of references to other major and minor pivotal names from the 1960s music business which offered many sparks for further investigations into music and highlights into their life out of stage.
The show witnessed Fame’s love for American blues and jazz, especially for Ray Charles – whose songs caused the pianist sack when backing Bill Fury, who accused Fame of playing too many Charles’ numbers.
Blues and jazz numbers formed most of the short setlist, with only a few of fame’s chart hits including Yeh Yeh, Point of No Return, Bonny and Clyde – played with some reluctance as always in his career – and Getaway – originally recorded as a one-sided promo single for National Benzol petrol and composed just a few hours before of the deadline.
The live accompaniment, despite good and highly professional, slightly ruined and covered the astonishing sound of Fame’s 1966 Hammond organ. The drummer not so jazzy as it should have been and the guitarist – with a style resembling Steve Cropper’s – sounding too clean and modern for a ‘60s musician.
The show pleasantly flowed to its end with a tribute to American jazzman and pianist Mose Allison, one of Fame’s biggest inspirations.
Despite a general lack of youths – who would have loads to learn from a musician like Fame – the show was a delightful night leaving me culturally enriched, electrified by Fame’s Hammond and grateful for having witnessed live one of the last standing talents of ‘60s British jazz and RnB.