At 10 am on 24 November four musicians, strangers to each other, were introduced to each other in Pizza Express. Three hours later they were on the stand, as well integrated as you could imagine. They were were David Ingamells, drums, Adam King, bass, Miguel Gorodi, trumpet, and Lorne Lofsky guitar, who had formed the quartet to celebrate what would have been Chet Baker’s 90th birthday.
There was a fifth person involved in the shape of Lauren Bush, who handled all the vocals, standards every one. She has a clear, strong voice and the right repertoire lined up. None of the musicians could be faulted but Lorne Lofsky, who played with Baker many times, stood out, laying some seriously sublime licks on us. He also plays regularly with Lauren Bush and they have rapport down to a fine art. The dozen numbers, spread over two sets, came in as five instrumentals and seven vocals.
As someone who thinks The Great American Songbook is the best there is, I was in hog heaven from It Could Happen To You through The Touch Of Your Lips. With the exception of Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do – dating from 1924 it was by far the oldest entry – there were no heavy hitters represented but we did get the cream of the second tier – Arthur Schwartz-Howard Dietz; Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke, Jay Livingston-Ray Evans, Matt Dennis-Tom Adair, Eddie DeLange and Ray noble. Even the instrumentals weighed in with Autumn Leaves, I Remember You and Stella By Starlight. Truly a menu to relish.
Lorne Lofsky & Lauren Bush – “The Chet Stream”, a tribute to Chet Baker. Pizza Express, Dean Street, London, W1D 3RW, 24 November 2019 as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival