Thursday, August 15, 2013


Gabby Dobson and Lara Goodridge
Capital Jazz Project – The Street Theatre

Friday 9th August.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

So French, so chic and oh so entertaining “Baby et Lulu” made an impressive Canberra debut with their eclectic program of French salon and cabaret music. Baby et Lulu” of the title, refers to two glamorous and engaging chanteuses Gabby Dobson and Lara Goodridge  (who’s also an accomplished violinist), leading a quartet of superb instrumentalists in which Marcello Maio is on piano and piano accordion.  Matt Ottignon vacillates between flute, saxophone and clarinet, while Julian Curwin plays guitar and Mark Harris is the bassist.

Together they work their way through a diverse repertoire of French songs, mostly sung in French with the occasional English lyric. Dobson and Goodridge sing tight, imaginative harmonies enhanced by exceptional musical arrangements that are as varied as the songs. When they sing solos, the other contributes moody backing vocals, and sometimes, in Goodridge’s case, beautiful violin backings. Occasionally the band members join in with backing vocals as well.

Each song is given exactly the right instrumentation to create the intended mood, often refreshingly unexpected, as in the swinging rendition of Cole Porter’s “C’est Magnifique” or the particularly lovely setting of the Piaf song “The Three Bells”. Original songs by both Dobson and Goodridge sat comfortably in the mix, as did Gabby Dobson’s haunting French version of her Leonardo’s Bride hit “Even When I’m Sleeping”.

Between songs the mood is relaxed and jovial with amusing cod-French banter being exchanged between the group, but the moment the music strikes up, complete attention is focussed on the song and its delivery.  This is a class act, which ticks all the boxes and a superb addition to the exceptional line-up on offer during the 2013 Capital Jazz Project.  Typically the sound for this concert was excellent, and The Street Theatre deserves a bow for the meticulous presentation of the acts in the festival which has been an outstanding contribution to the Canberra Centenary Celebrations.   
                              This review appears in the digital edition of CITY NEWS


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