On one of the last mild evenings of the usually cool month of April, a small group of friends and I met up at Speakeasy HQ in city for a smooth evening of jazz tunes. The show we thoroughly enjoyed was a tribute show to the jazz great Ella Fitzgerald, and was performed by the supremely talented Lady Fox. We all felt very fortunate to be allocated some fantastic seats and couldn’t wait for the show to begin. Speakeasy HQ creator (and skilled showman) Roy Maloy opened the evening with some songs to set the mood and to whet our jazz appetites for the evening’s entertainment.
Lady Fox glided on stage dressed in a beautiful silky sky blue dress, adorned with pearls and a sparkly headpiece. Lady Fox commenced her first set with the sweet Ella Fitzgerald song “Misty”. I’m a big fan of songs about dreams (dreams is one of my favourite song themes) so I was very pleased when Lady Fox sang another classic “Dream a Little Dream of Me”. In fact, if you’re a jazz fan or an Ella Fitzgerald aficionado then I’m sure you’ll be delighted with all the iconic songs performed by Lady Fox.
An aspect of this show I particularly enjoyed was Lady Fox explaining Ella’s background and how she became a performer. As a child, jazz music wasn’t played in my household so while I knew some of Ella Fitzgerald’s popular hits I was completely unaware of her personal story. In between singing some of Ella’s songs, Lady Fox mentioned key aspects of Ella Fitzgerald’s life story – family aspects and how her contacts helped her to succeed in her performance career. There always seems to be some sadness behind every story of greatness, and Ella’s story is no exception to this (especially considering the era she grew up in).
Throughout the show, Lady Fox proved that she could take the audience to different places with her song performances. One moment, she had the audience swaying to “Everyday is Valentine’s Day” and the next she would turn up the tempo and the heat with sultry renditions of “Fever” and “Whatever Lola Wants”. I enjoyed the variety of the music, as Lady Fox mentioned that Ella Fitzgerald had collaborated with other artists during her life, songs by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Sinatra were included in the show – all sung in Ella’s iconic style.
It’s hard not to get drawn into the story of Ella Fitzgerald and her music, especially when performed by Lady Fox – who is clearly a fan and admirer of Ella. Lady Fox highlighted that Ella Fitzgerald was such a hardworking artist, and overcame many struggles in her life so it is hard not to admire someone who accomplishes all of those things in life.
Lady Fox left us with some gutsy and entertaining songs to finish the evening :”Black Coffee” – which I thought was very apt for a Melbourne, coffee loving crowd- and “The Lady is a Tramp”. Lady Fox sings with passion in her voice and eyes, and I particularly noticed this during these last songs. We were lucky to have Lady Fox offer us an Encore – if you’re an Ella Fitzgerald fan, you’ll have to see this for yourself as I’m sure you’ll appreciate (and enjoy) it!
As it happened, on the day I saw this show I was very stressed – many things had to be managed and attended to and I felt like I was losing time. I attended “With Love, from Ella” at Speakeasy HQ and the beautiful songs of the evening just melted all my troubles away. Such is the power of Ella’s music performed by Lady Fox (and even better when shared with friends!) This is also part of the beauty and charm of Speakeasy HQ.
*Disclaimer: I attended this show as a guest of Speakeasy HQ
I believe that the current run of “With Love, From Ella” has come to a close, however this show may return, and Speakeasy HQ often run jazz shows / shows featuring music from a certain era.
For more information, visit: http://www.speakeasy-hq.com/