BLINQ Quartet: Brendan Reilly/Liane Carroll/Ian Shaw/Natalie Williams

Jazz and experimental

Music

Ronnie Scott's

Until Tue Oct 8 2013

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LiveReviews|2
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East Harlem Shakedown

Had the pleasure of seeing Blinq last night at Ronnie Scott’s – I had expected a backing band with each of the soloists taking a star turn, but instead we were treated to the 4 excellent singers combining forces to take on Gwilym Simcock’s tasteful and inventive arrangements. The only singer I’d heard before was Lianne Carroll who was her usual ebullient self; she just oozes soul and you can’t help but be captivated by every note she sings. Her vocal improvisation was second-to-none and this was a theme that ran throughout the group, with all of the vocalists showing great skill and musicianship when taking solos. Having not heard Natalie Williams before I was blown away by her purity of tone and vocal range, and I was also really impressed with Brendan who sung the Stevie Wonder song Innervisions which was one of my personal highlights of the show. Ian Shaw was hilarious and he too has a voice full of soul and grit, and seemed to enjoy showing off the top of his register! As a group they have a great camaraderie, are consummate professionals and know how to work a crowd; the show featured lots and lots of belly laughs and it was obvious everyone was having a great time (except perhaps the prudish and easily offended, but you don’t often find them at Ronnie’s!) Underpinning all of this was the mercurial talent of Gwilym Simcock… I have to admit to being slightly biased as I am a massive fan, but he was simply stunning…. Such a complete musician and an accomplished accompanist, his piano playing is so inventive and sure of touch that it is simply a joy to hear. The ballad section of the show featured Duke Ellington songs and his accompanying was so creative yet totally tasteful and in sync with the singers. He took a solo during the last number ‘Centipede’ which took the song off into a totally different direction and just highlighted the fact that he is a cut above pretty much all of the pianists working out there. The vocal arrangements he’d provided the group were just as thoughtful and interesting. If I was to criticise I would say that some of the 4 part harmony singing was slightly loose – while an element of this does add to the charm there were moments when it appeared that one particular singer was missing some of their notes and seemed to be miming, but overall this didn’t really detract from the obvious talent displayed by all on the stage. Would highly recommend Blinq and can’t wait to catch them again soon!

DAVID CORBETT

I went along to Ronnie's on 22 May with a bass-player friend (I play jazz piano), and we were both so excited musically with wonderful harmony singing and solos from all members of the quartet, solo performances were strong and the wonderful layered arrangements by Gwilym. Withstanding all the capabilities, we were also entertained with fun and laughter throughout the performance. A first class and unexpected evening of enjoyment and we cannot wait to receive a copy of their pending CD. Thanks so much to everyone, Dave.