The seven are Mr. Craig Martin, the crooner who left his heart in San Francisco Liverpool, and his Little Big Band; the sparkling Rhythm Section of Red Lopez on piano, Pat Farrell on electric bass and Reuben Bradley on drums, and the blazing Horn Section of Josh Hatcher on alto and tenor sax, Clint Allen on trumpet and Ben Young on trombone.
Up front, Craig is Mr. Personality, with his comfortable lounge suit and tie, light-catching, black patent leather shoes, the Big-Easy voice and an engaging, chatty style at the mic.
Craig grew up and came of age as a musician in Liverpool, and so it is no surprise that The Beatles were an early and powerful influence on him and the Covers band he was singing with in his teens.
And then one day he was introduced to his grandfather’s first love, Swing, when he heard, and was instantly hooked on, the songs and style of Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin. A little later, he was further inspired by the interpretations of these songs by Michael Buble and Robbie Williams.
So, by the time he arrived in Oz/Brisbane in 2009, Craig was perfectly primed for a career that has since seen him become one of Brisbane’s favourite crooners.
From those early days, he resolved only to work with the best of local musicians. And the wisdom of that decision was evident today, as together, this Magnificent Seven enjoyed being back at the Brisbane Jazz Club, to present these great songs to an appreciative audience.
Now, the theme of the day was ‘The Beatles to Buble’. So, to help set the scene, please, for a moment, close your eyes, and…picture yourself in a boat on a river…with tangerine trees and marmalade skies…
…and come with Craig and the band on a fascinating journey through a colourful landscape of the best of The Beatles…among them…Please Please Me, Revolution, Till There Was You and Lady Madonna. All swung like you won’t get to hear them performed anywhere else!!
And OK. This was Beatles songs without a guitar in sight. So not a spot for a George or a John. But Pat more than held his own on bass, in place of Paul. And hearing Reuben at the drum kit, would have surely brought a tear to Ringo’s eye.
But then, it wasn’t all Beatles.
No. Laid out between those tangerine trees, was a Favourites playlist of crooner classics from the greats, including Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Ray Charles and Craig’s namesake, Dino. All swinging, of course. And all performed a la Michael Buble.
Then, as an extra touch, Craig blew us away with a hot little harmonica solo on the Bryan Ferry hit, Let’s Stick Together.
And at the end of this super-cruisy Sunday afternoon, as the lights of the CBD were beginning to flicker across the Brisbane River, Craig and the band took us out with a powerdrive version of I Saw Her Standing There. And in a rousing encore of audience participation on Hey Jude, they had us all singing the ‘Na. Na. Na. Na na na na’.
Thanks guys. When next you come back to the Brisbane Jazz Club, so will we!!
Brisbane Jazz Club