Review: Dale Storr and Kim Mayhew at Liverpool Marina – 1st March 2012
Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 6, 2012
Sheffield-based pianist Dale Storr has been forging a considerable reputation as a top class interpreter of New Orleans music both as a solo performer and as leader of his five-piece band. His fiancee, tenor sax player Kim Mayhew, is a highly valued member of the band and together they have formed a duo that impressively combines their individual skills.
They opened their debut at The Marina with a couple of multi-rhythmed instrumentals that provided a mouth-watering sample of the delights to come. Huey ‘Piano’ Smith’s “Rockin’ Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu” was then given the full treatment, followed by a great rendition of “Classified”, a number penned by Dale’s favourite pianist, James Booker. Kim then featured on a splendid version of “Summertime” with some beautifully mellow sax, which was followed by a rousing delivery of “Staggerlee, complete with a rollicking piano line.
Whimsical reference was made to the couple’s impending wedding as an introduction to Ernie K Doe’s first hit, Allen Toussaint’s derogatory anthem, “Mother-in-Law”, before the excellent first set bounced along to its close with Fats Domino’s “I’m Ready”.
The second set also opened in instrumental mode with the Latin-rhythmed “Tiko Tiko” and the gospel classic, “A Closer Walk With Thee”. The upbeat rocker, “Movin’ On” provoked the first activity on the dance floor, which was enthusiastically maintained through a cracking version of Tommy Tucker’s “Hi Heel Sneakers”, which boasted marvellous solos from both members of the talented duo. “Holy Cow”, another tremendous Toussaint composition, made way for a leisurely-paced piano solo and a sparkling instrumental version of “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” before the tempo was raised with Jerry Lee Lewis’s “I’m Waiting At The End Of The Road”.
The programme of wonderful contrasts continued with a couple of brilliantly played solo piano renditions of The Godfather theme song and Professor Longhair’s “Tipitina “, climaxing with a fabulous version of the superb JoeTurner/Pete Johnson boogie woogie, “Roll ’Em, Pete”, which brought the house down and raised the entire audience onto their feet in a spontaneous expression of admiration and gratitude.
The respective abilties of this formidable duo complement each other wonderfully well and, if there is a better New Orleans-style pianist in the UK than the outrageously talented Dale Storr, please point me in his or her direction because he or she must be very, very special.