Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered: James Lambeth Sings Rodgers and Hart!

There is only one bar in Edinburgh that is fit for a man possessing such talent like James Lambeth: the Jazz Bar. The Oklahoma singer accentuates the blissful tonalities that bring together the music of Rodgers and Hart in such a way as I have never heard it before, earning himself unilateral applause.

James Lambeth is undeniably one of the most talented jazz musicians to grace the Fringe.

He took the time to explain the meaning and background behind the songs he sung, often dropping in the occasional pun to lighten the mood, and called upon the audience to help him click in the introduction to certain songs such as I Wish I Were In Love Again and My Funny Valentine. Backing him up were the talented Tom Gibbs and Mario Caribe on the piano and bass respectively.

Lambeth carries with him the professionalism found only in those who have learned the sweet lament of Rodgers and Hart’s music. There is a beautiful touch of longing in those eyes that rescinds my pen to criticise. On occasion Lambeth can become long winded when reciting his stories, to the chagrin of some of the audience members lacking an attention span less than two minutes long. But this is a mere blip on my proverbial radar. That voice leads you into the sombre hollow that is the heart of jazz to place you in the sweet abode of a 1920s speakeasy, then gently leads you out onto the streets of old Manhattan. And when the night calls for more delicate tunes to be played he lulls you into the soft slumber of his voice to gently replace the upswing of the earlier numbers.

The improvisation abilities from the bass and piano reaffirms the token of jazz music’s most treasured ability, and James Lambeth made sure to acknowledge Gibbs and Caribe as if they were the stars of the show themselves by standing aside to politely allow the audience a glimpse of their improvisational skills. And he made sure that they deserved recognition by beckoning a hand to cast applause rippling across the room.

Indeed, Lambeth was graceful in the face of even the rudest of audience members including one particular old woman who demanded a mocha during the show that would have roused the tonal wrecking ball that is the coffee machine; thankfully she was refused on the grounds that it would disrupt the performance, though she stayed to complain.

James Lambeth is undeniably one of the most talented jazz musicians to grace the Fringe.

Reviews by Stuart Mckenzie

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Mellifluous vocalist James Lambeth returns, showcasing the fabulous compositions of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, including such Great American Songbook standards as Blue Moon, Have You Met Miss Jones, You Took Advantage of Me, Manhattan, The Lady Is a Tramp, I Wish I Were in Love Again, and the show's title. Backed by virtuoso musicians Steve Hamilton on piano and Mario Caribe on double bass, 2015 promises to be Lambeth's fourth sell-out year! ‘An accomplished musician who has a bright future ahead of him’ (BroadwayBaby.com). Book early!