David McAlmont leads this tribute to Lady Day, inspired by the legendary 1956 concert at which Billie’s music was accompanied by extracts from her autobiography Lady Sings The Blues. With a band led by pianist / MD Alex Webb, McAlmont gives his unique interpretations of the Lady Day catalogue while quoting from her extraodinary life story.
The show includes many of the most well-known Holiday songs, ranging – as did the Carnegie Hall concert – from the optimism of her 1930s work (What A Little Moonlight Can Do, Fine And Mellow) through her 1940s Torch songs (My Man, I Cover The Waterfront) to her self-penned classics Don’t Explain and Lady Sings The Blues – and many more.
Holiday’s memoir Lady Sings The Blues remains a unique document. The New York Herald Tribune called it, ‘One of the most candid self-portraits ever painted on a typewriter’, and it retains the power to shock and intrigue more than half a century later.
Singer and songwriter David McAlmont, best-known for his collaborations with ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, has long had an interest in jazz, performing at a John Coltrane tribute concert at the Barbican and in 2004 releasing Set One: You Go To My Head, a collection of Cassandra Wilson and Betty Carter-inspired standards. He has also recorded with Courtney Pine, Michael Nyman and David Arnold. In 2016 he recorded the Alex Webb composition Me And My Crazy Ideas for the album Call Me Lucky by Alex Webb and the Copasetics.
The show normally features Sue Richardson (trumpet), Denys Baptiste or Katy Jungmann (tenor sax & clarinet), Neville Malcolm or Flo Moore (bass) and Sophie Alloway (drums)
‘David McAlmont is one of British pop’s most precious hidden treasures. His voice is a sublime and miraculous thing, able to convey unimaginable reserves of vulnerability and inner strength in one wavering syllable.’ – The Independent