Review: Dale Storr at Alexander’s, Chester – 23rd November 2014
Posted on: Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Dale Storr at Alexander’s, Chester – 23.11.14
The Sheffield-based piano maestro Dale Storr, delivered a top class performance at Alexander’s, much to the delight of the handful of punters who had braved the elements on a rain-swept Sunday evening. His two brilliant sets covered a wonderful range of New Orleans style RnB, funk and boogie, which fully demonstrated his prodigious mastery of the keyboard.
He opened the show with “Dance A La Negres”, a lively instrumental followed by a vibrant rendition of Lloyd Price’s “Stagger Lee” and Chris Kenner’s “Somethin’ You Got”. A wonderful delivery of Henry Butler’s “Dr James” then led onto a splendid medley comprising “Closer Walk With Thee”, Fats Domino’s “Sick n Tired” and Professor Longhair’s “Big Chief”. He then slowed the pace with a beautifully played rendition of Dr John’s “Dorothy”, written as a tribute to his mother. Recognition of Allen Toussaint’s considerable influence on Dale’s musical development was confirmed with terrific versions of “Holy Cow” and “Mother-in-Law” before the set was concluded with a rollicking treatment of Pete Johnson and Big Joe Turner’s “Roll ‘Em Pete”.
After a short break, the second set was put into motion with Professor Longhair’s much-loved “Tipitina” and Huey Smith/Frankie Ford’s “Seacruise”. Dr John’s “Such A Night” made way for another medley, which featured the “Godfather” theme, “Besame Mucho” and James Booker’s “Pops Dilemma”. Of Dale’s many influences, Booker is firmly at the head of the list , which guaranteed fabulous deliveries of “Keep On Gwine” and “Classified”. The set closed with a terrific, Booker-influenced version of “A Taste Of Honey” and a breathtaking airing of Fats Domino’s “I’m Ready”, which incorporated a display of mesmerising dexterity.
Finally, as an encore, a spectacular and very different version of “Goodnight, Irene” intermingled the styles of Dr John and James Booker to such an extent that it might not have been recognised by Leadbelly himself. It provided a superb ending to an evening that was a brilliant showcase of Dale Storr’s superlative pianistic skills, which was worthy of a full house in a very substantial venue. Quite simply, he is world class and it is surely only a matter of time before that self-evident fact is universally recognised.