Edinburgh Fringe 2017
A look through the great American and British song books in an hour of high class music from Arlen, a talented trio based just on our doorsteps in East Lothian.
St Mark’s is thirty-five this year – half the age of the Fringe itself – and remains an oasis of calm amongst the chaos that can pervade elsewhere across Auld Reekie, situated as it is on leafy Castle Terrace with a glorious view of the Castle. And a car park.
The venue has become a by-word for quality music over the years, offering a rich variety from classical through to jazz and is ideal for trios such as Arlen, who with bass, acoustic guitar and an extremely impressive contralto jazz-singer, filled the space with rich, mellifluous sounding ballads from the great American and British song books.
Girl From Ipanema (with lyrics reworked for a female to sing it), Black Coffee, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, You Were Always On My Mind and What Are You Doing With The Rest Of Your Life are just a few of the numbers aired by the superb voice of Sadie, the singer in the trio. This is a voice that really has got the lot – control, power, especially in the lower and middle range of her voice, subtlety when lyrics and music demanded and the clarity of cut glass.
Never afraid to cut loose when the situation demanded, her voice filled the cavernous hall with ease. Musical arrangements played to her strengths, as did the set list, although I guess this talented chanteuse has quite a few more tunes in her stable.
Finishing up with a couple more numbers from Hoagy Carmichael and, lastly, Somewhere Over The Rainbow (from Harold Arlen, the inspiration for their band name), I was reminded that very often simple formats are the best. No clever banter, no stage gimmicks, just a trio who play and sing great music with real empathy. Come Rain or Come Shine turned out to be all shine and no rain. It was just a shame when the sun finally set and we all had to leave.