Presented by Schnithouse Norwood
Reviewed 19th February 2020
Zkye Compson-Harris is one of Adelaide’s treasures. A blues and jazz singer of unquestionable talent, she constantly stretches both her repertoire and her style.
With A Lady Sings the Blues she has pulled together a set-list of jazzier blues numbers, mainly those made famous by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone.
Opening with Cry Me A River, she delved into such standards as Stormy Weather, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and It Had To Be You. Highlights included a jazzed up, modernized version of Porter’s Love For Sale and a spine-tingling acapella version of Strange Fruit. She finished the first set with the fabulous Twisted, a Wardell Gray composition with Annie Ross lyrics, which has been recorded by such luminaries as Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell. Compson-Harris’s version more than held its own.
Second set opened with the up-beat Bye Bye Blackbird, moving into Black Coffee, Too Darn Hot and Cheek to Cheek. She finished the night with two numbers in the style of Nina Simone: I Wish I Knew, and My Baby Just Cares.
Compson-Harris was backed by guitarist James Muller and bassist Damien Steele Scott, both of whom are outstanding musicians. The small combo feel worked brilliantly in the Schnithouse’s pop-up venue: the front decking area, dressed in fairy lights on a mild summer’s evening.
This is what Fringe is all about. Great entertainment, in quirky venues, with strangers sharing tables and a love of live performance.
And top-marks for a gig that starts and ends exactly on time (particularly during Fringe!).
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Rating out of 5: 4 stars CLASSY
Venue: Club 134 at Schnithouse Norwood
Season: Thursday 20th-Sunday 23rd February
Duration: 90 minutes