Perri and Neil Quartet - The Blue Project

The Capstone, Liverpool
26th September 2014

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

In this well appointed performance space, that is the envy of other venues on the local scene, tonight's concert attracted a healthy and well heeled audience for what promised to be an intriguing night's entertainment.

On stage were Perri Alleyne-Hughes (vocals), Neil Campbell (classical guitar), Roger Gardiner (bass) and Viktor Nordberg (drums and percussion) for a jazz infused session intent on shedding new light on Joni Mitchell's seminal 1971 album, Blue.

All of Forty plus years on, the content of the songs have lost none of the power to project the emotional turmoil of love and desire in all it's rashness, wish fulfillment, heartache, sporadic euphoria or ultimate resignation. Titles like 'All I Want' ', 'California', 'A Case Of You' and the title track 'Blue' are redolent of the unfolding sentiments invoked: "All dreamers pass this way, some time", "pretty lies, pretty lies . . . romanticising the pain that's in your head", "travelling, travelling" but delaying arrival by a further diversion; that plangent cry for the chimerical "something" that we all are constantly searching for to prevent toppling back into the abyss.

From the safety of their comfy seats that transition from psychological trauma to the material luxury of dishwashers, coffee percolators and frying pans that 'are not too wide' and security and companionship, must have seemed a long way away for those reflecting on the words.

The female singer, in a smooth 'butter wouldn't melt in her mouth' rendition, backed by sotto voce finger plucking and subdued synchopation, duly went through the album song by song, perhaps too reverentially at times, but it went down well enough. There were also a few tuneful songs of their own, something from Adrian Henri and 'My Sunny Valentine', somewhat incongruous given the rest of the set.

A not unpleasant night out.

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