This may have been the official CD launch gig for the Jazz-a-Belles, but it worked out as a full-length concert too. It was also an opportunity for colleagues of the trio, like myself, to see the girls' act, being unable to come to the West Country charity concerts over Christmas or the North London cafe slots last weekend.
Three young women with high-grade vocal training and experience in opera and choral singing, the trio are using the Jazz-a-Belles project to move from the strictly classical rails of this background and into other areas in which they have a (literally) vested interest, namely jazz, or even vaudeville. I say literally, as their act works hand-in-glove with their carefully appropriated wardrobe of vintage clothing of the 1930s and 40s. Taking inspiration from the Andrews Sisters, to quote their own website (the Belleville Triplets also sprang to my mind), the arrangements of Christmas songs and standards are also chased with comparable arrangements of contemporary artists. A David Foster medley of Lady Gaga hits was a unique part of the gig and the arrangement of Amy Winehouse's Rehab (which one can hear on the site) a highlight, not least because of some nicely functioning choreography.
The group are still finding the gravitational centre of their act. The concert was by no means dedicated to these tight trio arrangements. The first half also showcased each performer individually in British folksong, sacred/gospel song and operetta arias as well as a trio of nicely judged Kurt Weill songs. Above all there's a warmth and informality that is as attractive as the performances. Alasdair Hogarth joined the group on the piano.