Lily Dior's launch of new album Let’s Talk About It gave her the chance to play with a full horn section and she clearly loved it.
Dior’s album launch event at Pizza Express Jazz Club featured a strong rhythm section who clearly knew her songs and her style. The horn section was new to her, but they also knew their stuff. If it took the first set for them to properly bed in, that paid off with a storming second set.
In a fairly low-key first set of mainly album tracks, the highlight was Dior's rendition of Who Needs You (Baby)? In an inspired choice, she chose to end the set with Lady Day and John Coltrane by Gil Scott-Heron. It lifted the whole evening and set the tone for a great second set. All helped, no doubt, by drummer Rod Youngs, who often worked with Scott-Heron as part of the Amnesia Express band.
And so the second set really took the action up a notch as UK musicians Neil Angilley on keyboards, Al Cherry on guitar and bass player Geoff Gascoyne flexed their musical muscles behind Dior and the horn section in a whole band that obviously inspired Dior to sing her heart out. The very talented Paul Booth on sax was joined by James Copus on trumpet and Barnaby Dickinson’s trombone. By the time the gig ended with the album’s title track, they were really having fun, swapping chorus solos and mimicking each other’s licks. They could probably have carried on all night.
Such was Dior's uncertainty that the band has prepared no encore number. After the spirited Let’s Talk About It enticed the audience to buy and listen to the album, they were going nowhere. A few moments of discussion and Dior launched into the Ann Peebles classic I Can’t Stand the Rain. I’d have liked a reprise of Lady Day and John Coltrane, but it was a good finale and displayed Dior’s jazz and soul roots along with her very talented band.
Review: Hilary Robertson
Photo: Kat Pfeiffer