It’s easy to be seduced by the cosy Crazy Coqs, a small jazz club nestled inside Brasserie Zedel at Piccadilly Circus. The Crazy Coqs is an intimate venue with tiny tables and low lighting, everything you’d expect from a speakeasy of the past. The perfect setting then for a night of Cole Porter, Gershwin and more from award-winning jazz singers Liane Carroll and Claire Martin in Double Standards.
The publicity promised “salty anecdotes” but I can’t say I noticed many of these, however the duo’s between-song banter was light and skittish and kept the evening moving along nicely. This banter mattered not however as the duo’s musical and vocal abilities spoke from themselves. The intimate setting was made for crooning and Martin’s smooth vocals are conducive to very easy listening as she and Carroll open with some classic jazz including a rendition of Sinatra’s ‘That Old Black Magic’ and ‘Honeysuckle Rose‘.
It is Carroll who possess the more soulful and versatile voice of the two, she accompanies herself on the piano with ease whilst delivering an emotive interpretation of Eddy Arnold’s ‘You Don’t Know Me‘ and the small audience are quick to show their appreciation. It’s a voice full of raw vulnerability and honesty.
The evening speeds by, one of the most popular sections being an ode to Dusty Springfield with soulful renditions of ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’ and ‘The Look of Love’ where you’d have been pressed not to find yourself swaying along. Martin’s tone here and throughout the evening is especially gratifying.
Many of the songs featured in the evening’s set require a certain emotional depth and I was impressed with the way Carroll and Martin shifted seamlessly from one without appearing rushed or jarring. They giggle helplessly through introductions and are likeable throughout joking that they’re so excited to be allowed out on a Tuesday.
Martin and Carroll’s vocal and musical talents plus the effortless warmth of the Crazy Coqs venue make for a hugely satisfying evening. Impassioned jazz, unobtrusive piano and a glass of wine or two and it’s easy to see why one could float back to the tube station feeling pleasingly mellow after a swinging hour of soulful escapism.
Double Standards runs from now until 9 April at the Crazy Coqs. Visit the Brasserie Zedel website for more information.