Friday, October 19

My Friend Lester

- June 2, 2015

Framed by Billie Holiday’s famous exclamation at Lester Young’s funeral (unrepeatable here!), this performance sought to explain the confusing, elusive and tumultuous relationship between jazz performers Billie Holiday and Lester Young. The narrative throughout illustrated how two immensely troubled people with alcohol and narcotics problems found solace in the company and quirkiness of each other.

Dahlberg’s Lester captured their pain and the depth of feeling beautifully with a melancholy warmth. His saxophone performance was confident and soulful throughout. McAteer’s voice delicately demanded the use of vibrato which showed the pain she was portraying; particularly during the famous ‘Strange Fruit’. She was able to effortlessly slip between breathy deep singing and a light, clean as glass tone. Possibly the performance could have been improved by fewer breaks in the set for the narrative as it sometimes felt as if the music spoke enough for itself.

The Rialto Theatre, 31 May 2015
Rating: ★★★½☆
Daisy Tompkins

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