The coining of the nickname ‘BrisVegas’ indicating that Brisbane has that glitzy showbiz appeal was proved again last night when Craig Martin brought that popular ‘get-the-crowd-going’ mix of swing, pop, cabaret and even rock, to the hallowed hall of the Brisbane Jazz Club.
This was pure entertainment and a long way from the Craig Martin who first appeared at the Club with me and the BBB as a guest vocalist nearly two years ago. Craig presented his own 8-piece band (including 3 members of the BBB), featuring such musical heavyweights as Brad Esbensen and Clint Allen. Band members Kathy Sanders-pno, Brian Pearson-bass, Dan Simpson-drums, Scott Griffiths-sax, Adam Connolly-sax and Andrew Montfroy-trombone, along with Brad and Clint on trumpets produced a sound much bigger than the 8-piece line-up.
On a rainy Sunday night in Brisbane Craig sang and charmed his way through an evening of swing and pop hits, with plenty of accent on the music from his home town of Liverpool – Beatles, Gerry Marsden et al with style and confidence . Craig’s unassuming manner, good looks and ‘boy next door’ chatty style had the audience of about 80 on side from the beginning and kept the dance floor busy all evening. Taking a leaf out of Michael Buble’s book Craig sticks solidly to the well-trodden path of performing proven hit numbers with great backing, and now seems to have the measure of Australian audiences, judging by his ability to get a jazz club crowd singing along.
Describing himself as a ‘swing singer’ Craig makes no claims to be a jazzer – no way out moody jazz numbers or attempts at scatting, but his brand of entertainment has just as much place at the BJC as any of the other various genres of what we call jazz. A little touch of femininity was brought to the show by Crystala Pippos – young lady barely out of high school, who duetted with Craig on a few numbers and shows a lot of promise as a vocalist.
The end result was a very happy and relaxed audience enjoying another facet of live and jazzy music at the BJC.