In company with such renowned musicians as Paula Girvan, Helen Russell, Gary Eldershaw, and Josh Hatcher, a vocalist only has to tread that comfortable musical carpet laid down by the band to present a varied and highly polished performance. Such was the case for Di Clark who presented a smooth and accomplished program of well-known standards interspersed with one or two I did not know – such as ‘Stop the Show’ – full marks to Di for not just sticking to the well-trodden path of crowd-pleasers.
Talking about crowds, despite the quality of the show, the audience was extremely chatty in the first half, although much quieter in the second, after it was brought to their attention in the interval. In a jazz lounge where the music is just there as a background they could be forgiven, but in a jazz club people do come for the music and not to hear others chattering.
Artistes themselves sometimes contribute to this situation by continuing a laid-back style to an obviously noisy audience – as one of my mentors told me in my early showbiz days “Yer gotta make ’em have it, lad” – when you’re on stage you should command and demand the attention of the crowd. A brash and bashy song will sometimes make them sit up and take notice. Some of our BJC audiences need better training……
Di has come a long way since her ‘graduation’ from occasional appearances at Jazz Singers Jam Night to running her own well-attended gigs, and appearing as one of the regular vocalists with the Brisbane Big Band. It takes time to master the complexities of some jazz tune melodies and rhythmic patterns, which baffle many pop singers; imbuing these songs with one’s own style and passion while telling the story of the lyrics is perhaps the differentiation between instrumentalists and singers – vive la difference! Di has the talent and intellect to tackle these challenges in steadily building her reputation as a jazz singer.