A Serious Affair

Reviewed by Graham Strahle for The Adelaide Review.

The ASO Plays Cabaret with UK swing singer Gary Williams served at this year’s festival centrepiece. A serious more than uplifting affair, it artfully and meticulously recreated the sound of the 1950s Capitol recordings of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra using Nelson Riddle’s spacious original orchestral arrangements.Here was no boisterously blaring big band fronted by a one-dimensional greasy crooner. Williams himself was all warmth and laid-backalmost to a fault. Punchier numbers such as ‘Route 66’ lacked grit, but ‘Let There Be Love’ and ‘Come Fly With Me’ sailed effortlessly without a trace of smear or coarseness. Under conductor John Wilson, the ASO was impeccably refined. Wilson is clearly a master at this stuff, displaying real understanding of Riddle’s finely layered scores.