Thoughts on Sara Oschlag/Jonny Hepbir Quartet, 8 June 2022

Steve is on holiday, so it is Dave doing a little review. I was so enjoying the music that I couldn’t note all of  the songs: no definitive set list today.

These four fine musicians gave us music of their own, but redolent of the Paris Hot Club, and the 40’s and 50’s.  We had vocalist Sara Oschlag: lovely phrasing, great , substantial voice, and real understanding of the stories  she was telling.  As a vocal instrumentalist, her scatting was superb. Jonny Hepbir  and Jason Henson played beautiful acoustic classical guitars. Their soloing was a delight. 

There is a part of their music that people don’t listen to, but if it isn’t  there, the music falls flat. It is the rhythm guitar. Both Jonny and Jason play rhythm guitar as it should sound. This is a rarity, and it was lovely to hear it.

The bassist, Rhys Lobell, was a last minute dep who had never played with the band before. The audience would never have suspected that until they were told about it late in the gig. Now, I was at the sound check and watched the process of giving a fine instrumentalist the vibe and riffs of some of the songs. In the gig itself it took only one song for the four of them to become one mind. 

The programme was mostly up tempo, with plenty of room for soloing from all four. I loved Sara trading 2’s with each of the band members, especially in Berlin’s “Putin’ on the Ritz”, She sang in French, Spanish, German and English. Sara’s story telling was almost graphic with the double entendre  lyrics of  “HoneySuckle Rose” (Fats Waller). 

Part of the fun of the gig was watching (and taking part in) the fun that the performers were having. I am not sure that there was ever a pre-designed set list, with decisions being made on the fly, while poking fun at each other. 

It was a highly enjoyable evening, with happy comments from the FAR too small audience. I would love to hear this band again,

Take care,