Oh yeh

Simon Hale watches jazz veteran Georgie Fame at the Jam House.

Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames (1)

Blues and jazz legend Georgie Fame, at 71, was at his sparkling best as he took a packed audience at Birmingham’s Jam House back to the club gigs of his youth.

With the support of his band The Blue Flames, the evening got off to a brisk upbeat start with his rendition of Ray Charles’s I’ve Got a Woman – and the pace hardly let up.

Another R&B classic “et on the Right Track, Baby, with Guy Barker on trumpet, brought guests to their feet, while Fame’s 1964 chart-topper Yeh Yeh with Alan Skidmore on tenor sax set the dance floor at the popular live music and dining venue on fire with its relentless swinging Latin sound.

Perched at the keyboard of his trademark Hammond organ, the Mancunian directed his distinctive voice at acknowledging the musical greats that have influenced him throughout his phenomenal career like Louis Jordan, Eddie Cochrane and Willie Nelson. The tempo slackened slightly for both a slow blues number Cool Cat Blues and a Carole King song Point of No Return that he said should have been in the musical, which brought ecstatic applause.

Anthony Kerr on vibraphone, supported by Fame’s sons James and Tristan Powell on drums and guitar, did more than justice to John Burch’s Preach and Teach.

Fame also kept the audience amused with his version of Floyd Dixon’s Don’t Send me Flowers in the Graveyard”and his invitation to join in a highly topical profane chant about politicians with his arrangement of Bob Dylan’s Everything is Broken. He also paid tribute to the musician who first introduced him to jazz when he was still plain Clive Powell in his performance of Mike O’Neill’s My Ship is Coming In.

With his enduring talent and appeal, that’s something Georgie Fame has never had to worry about.