Review: That Old Black Magic - The Songs of Johnny Mercer/The Scotsman

Concert review: Janet Seidel Trio in the Scotsman 4/10/11 by Fiona Kerr

Recital Room, Glasgow ****

THE Australian-style weather may have already been a thing of the past by Friday evening but there was still a sultry, balmy quality to the music played in the Recital Room, courtesy of Janet Seidel'sSydney-based group. The charismatic singer-pianist set the tone with the very first tune, a gentlebossa nova version of Day In, Day Out on which her soft, unfussy vocals were offset by just guitar and bass, creating a gorgeous sound.

The theme of the concert was the Johnny Mercer songbook, and Mercer could not have asked for a better champion of his songs than Seidel, whose attention to the lyrics was obvious from the start. It was a rare treat to hear Lazy Bones, Mercer's early hit with Hoagy Carmichael, but Seidel went one better and included the even more rarely-exhumed verse – accompanied by just Chuck Morgan onukelele – and the effect was extremely evocative.

Other highlights – and there were many – included Blues in the Night, Come Rain or Come Shine and Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home, all of which revealed the bluesier side of the otherwise cool, quiet and spellbinding Seidel vocals.

What was striking was how Seidel, who honed her craft in piano bars, established an immediate rapport with her audience – and was rewarded with an enthusiastic response to every number.