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REVIEW: Randy Crawford at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2018





With a voice that is as crystal clear as her early singing days in seventies’ New York, Randy Crawford blew an adoring Big Top crowd away with a magical performance that launched this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival with a flourish.

Introduced by Jo Whiley and recorded live for Radio 2, Crawford and her brilliant band rolled out one hit song after another with a show that lived up to its hype - and how.

Kicking off with the sultry Rainy Night in Georgia, Crawford wowed everyone with her note-perfect performance, demonstrating that time has not diminished her vocal purity one iota.

Rio de Janeiro Blue was followed by Harry Nilsson’s wonderful Everybody’s Talkin’ with the first of many ravishing piano solos, and then Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, with Crawford’s voice ringing out like a bell and a broad smile plastered across her face.

When she sang a cover of Leo Sayer’s number one hit, When I Need You, I have to say I preferred it to the original. Sorry, Leo. Then came her highest-charting UK hit, One Day I’ll Fly Away, followed by You Bring the Sun Out, One Hello and then, the song everybody remembers her singing with The Crusaders in 1979, Street Life.

In between songs, Crawford chatted about anything and everything. I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about for most of the time and, to be honest, I’m not sure she did either. She blamed it on the spaghetti she’d had for lunch, claiming it must’ve been “laced with herbs”, which brought a roar of laughter from the crowd.

To the delight of her fans, her extended encore included Almez – a song she wrote about as Eritrean refugee couple who lived next door and were very much in love - and Secret Combination, until You Might Need Somebody rounded off a fantastic night and the promise of a great festival to come.

Review by Helen Gadd



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