Regular festival visitor Lillian Boutte brought the spirit of her hometown with her, turning Edinburgh into New Orleans for a week. Backed by the ever-reliable Tom Finlay Trio, featuring Roy Percy on bass and Paul Mills on drums, she set the tone for the evening with “Sleepy Time Down South” and became the hostess for a party you would never want to leave. Among the expected standards such as “When You’re Smiling” and “Basin Street Blues” there was a soulful version of “Tennessee Waltz” that she took away from its country roots and made it all her own.
“Barefootin’” had the entire audience on their feet and dancing, to her genuine pleasure “it’s like being in my mom’s house!” and during “What a Wonderful World” she circulated the room, with hugs and handshakes for everyone to thank them for coming.
Great singer, great woman, great party. Don’t miss I
Deciding to make it a double-header at the Outhouse proved to be one of the best decisions I made during this Fringe. Taking an hour long breather after the warmth of Lillian Boutte’s party in the Loft, I went back upstairs to find the party had moved from New Orleans to the Caribbean thanks to the mightily impressive Arturo Tappin and his band.
While we have a good number of extremely accomplished jazz musicians here in Edinburgh, there’s always an added dimension seeing a bandleader playing with his own crew, and thanks are due, I understand, to the Barbados Tourist Board who brought this excellent quartet over to the UK.
Tappin has played with Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross and Maxi Priest, to name just a few, but here he’s a leader rather than a sideman, and it’s a situation that suits him. He demonstrates his mastery of a wide range of styles in a set that moved from Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” to “Sunny Side of the Street” and included a delicious “Barbados My Island of Dreams” with Rosemary Phillips on vocals.
Switching between tenor and soprano sax and flute, Tappin, along with his tight rhythm section gave a performance that rewarded the ears as well as the feet, creating a relaxed yet stimulating party vibe where the music always came first.
I could listen to these guys any night of the year.