There’s nothing quite like the 606 on a Monday night. Things are a bit more sedate, you can unwind at the bar, find your favourite perch, take the weight off. And when an artist of the calibre of Charlie Wood is providing the entertainment, you know everything’s going to be all right. Wood is a Memphis-born singer, songwriter and pianist who has toured the US and Europe with blues guitar legend Albert King and performed with artists such as Robert Plant, Rufus Thomas, BB King and Georgie Fame. His latest CD ‘Flutter and Wow’ is produced by Norah Jones guitarist/collaborator Adam Levy and features covers of songs by Tom Waits, Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen. But it’s Wood’s own compositions that really grab the attention – witty, intelligent vignettes in the Mose Allison, Ben Sidran, Randy Newman or Donald Fagen vein with killer couplets and a groovy old-school R’n’B vibe.
‘A Song’ was a slick mid-tempo swinger with poignant lyrics: ‘Before everyone got indoctrinated/Before everything had been bought and sold/Remember how music intoxicated?/How it got in your heart and your head and took hold?’ An old-time concept for sure, but there’s room for nostalgia too among the bluster of contemporary jazz. A super-fast version of ‘All The Things You Are’ incorporated Charlie Parker’s famous ‘Bird of Paradise’ tag and showed off the hefty chops of trombonist Mark Nightingale and saxist Andy Panayi. And there was a fine, laidback take on Mose Allison’s suburban blues manifesto ‘City Home’ before Wood closed out the set with his heartbreak anthem ‘One Kind Word’.
The word on the street is that Charlie is now a regular in London, so he should be back on the block in no time – a trip to check him out is highly recommended.