January 2010

Live Review: Chalkers Pub

January 29, 2010

in Press

by Paul J. Youngman, jazzreview.ca, January 29, 2010

Fern Lindzon is a Canadian pianist and a vocalist. She exhibits equally accomplished talents on both instruments. I managed to catch her at Chalkers Pub in midtown Toronto, a great up and coming jazz club that has played host to some fantastic jazz folk including vocalist Sheila Jordan. As I walked up the stairs to the 2nd story pub housing the jazz club, billiards room and large outdoor patio – I heard an enchanting melody, “Never Never Land” performed as an instrumental jazz version. Ms. Lindzon led her band, made up of Mike Murley (saxophone), Michael McClennan (acoustic bass) and Joel Haynes on drums through a fun arrangement, giving this old show tune a swinging contemporary jazz groove.

Ms. Lindzon explained the origins of “Where Do You Start” a jazz standard with lyrics by Allan and Marilyn Bergman and music by Johnny Mandell. The song made famous as a traditional show tune was sang by Lindzon with a smooth alto tone, she performed the song with a Broadway style of phrasing.

On the classic “Estate,” Mike Murley played in a muscular style, coaxing the muffled tones of a Latin groove from his horn. Fern Lindzon played piano in a spacious melodic style and provided vocal phrasing with grand sustain and beautiful clear notes cascading from one to the next.

The band performed many of the songs from Ms. Lindzon’s 2008 Independent release, Moments Like These, her debut recording that features duet performances with Don Thompson, Reg Swagger and George Koller. Including the aforementioned tunes, they also covered, “Let Yourself Go” and “Re’i”, an interesting and exciting song that Lindzon sang in Hebrew.

They also performed Jobim’s “Two Kites”. And a song entitled “Donna Donna,” a traditional Klezmer song dedicated this night to Maria Schneider, also in performance this evening as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival. A Norma Winstone song, “Distance”. “Laurel” was a chance for Mike Murley to play soprano sax, a distinctive voice always a pleasure to listen to. “Let Yourself Go”, a great tune to let go on – as the whole band romps through the tune with serious energy and wild dynamics. There were some great solos on this song.

Bringing the show to a close on some common ground – the band played Cole Porters, “Lets Do It” what a great way to end a show. I’ll be looking forward to hearing Ms. Lindzon again. I have her CD, Moments Like These – so no better time then now.