Last night, Sunday 19th May, if anything proved an even more memorable occasion than last month's JPQ Reunion! The unforgettable Jan Ponsford with the Jan Ponsford Quartet Reunion At Jan's Bar,
Stoke Newington, was just mind-blowing, and nothing less on the occasion of this second installment of her monthly residency on the third Sunday of every month.
Alongside the stellar Ms. Ponsford was her usual JPQ quartet of world class musicians, Frances Knight on (here electric) piano and accordion, Terry Pack on double bass and one of the finest drummers on the British scene, Winston Clifford at the traps. Not forgetting of course special guest, stellar 'bone player Annie Whitehead.
The joyful vibe that pervades everything is totally infectious. The JPQ, as smooth as a finely tuned engine, was on more than top form right from the beginning and proved completely irresistible to the enthusiastic and appreciative crowd filling Jan's Bar.
The mean 'bone of Annie Whitehead, still recovering from an operation, joined the JPQ for most songs throughout both sets, but seemed to need a little time to warm up in the first part of the first set - completely understandable under the circumstances. But it was not too long before Ms. Whitehead was firing on all cylinders and proving a complete delight.
Both sets consisted of a mix of standards and Ponsford originals (taken from her last album, Same Air). The first included All Blues, I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good), Same Air, Teach Me Tonight and Lush Life, while the second set included In The Sun, 's Wonderful, Make It Real and God Bless The Child.
Ms. Ponsford's superior originals could easily be mistaken for standards, and they certainly would deserve to become classics. Her likewise superior interpretations of both are unforgettable to anyone who has ever heard her.
Likewise, Ponsford's freely flowing scat improvisations are always memorable and only matched in this country by Dame Cleo Laine. (And perhaps, if you want to include male singers, the amazing Cleveland Watkiss.) And who could possibly forget the sheer magic of Ms. Ponsford's voice and its vast range and superior control! Not to mention of course her uncanny ability to imitate instruments, in particular the trumpet, with a stunning accuracy that leaves people looking around for the trumpet!
The latter of course also featured delightfully again last night, including in a couple of duets with Ms. Whitehead's 'bone.
Altogether, Ms. Ponsford's performance was not only perfection personified, but just utterly enchanting and captivating. A special kind of magic.
But Ms. Ponsford didn't hog the limelight and instead as always gave her superb quartet as well as special guest Ms. Whitehead plenty of scope for some breath-taking solos. And needless to say, the accompaniments of Ms. Knight's excellent piano and accordion, Pack's superb solid grounding bass and Clifford's equally superb traps, were nothing short of perfection as well. Ms. Whitehead fitted into this line-up like hand in glove, as it were, and one would like to hear her in this set up again.
Jan Ponsford's and her JPQ's performance last night was the kind of class that we do not hear too often, and that one cannot hear enough of. And that, once heard, is never forgotten.
The Jan Ponsford Quartet Reunion At Jan's Bar,
Stoke Newington last night was a night to remember, and remember for a long time. A truly magical evening. And simply the classiest act in town. You can catch Ms. Ponsford and her JPQ again on 16th June at Jan's Bar, so don't miss out.
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