Chris Ingham Quartet: Hoagy

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Chris Ingham Quartet
LABELS: Downhome Records
ALBUM TITLE: Chris Ingham Quartet: Hoagy
WORKS: Hoagy
PERFORMER: Chris Ingham (piano, vocals), Paul Higgs (trumpet), Rev. Andrew Brown (bass) etc


In these crazy days of jazz sub-genres such as ‘acid trad’ and ‘trip-bop’, the weary critic sometimes wants to relax with an old-fashioned pleasure. Enter laid-back pianist Chris Ingham and his quartet, swinging easy with a cocktail of golden-era Hoagy Carmichael tunes.

Carmichael (his parents called him Hoagland after a circus troupe that lodged with them) wrote perfect, indelible songs like ‘Stardust’ and ‘Skylark’ that would become jazz standards reworked and reimagined over again across the years. But Ingham and his convivial company play them straight here, the leader’s laconic delivery somewhat redolent of the composer’s own light vocal style, going straight to the heart of the songs.

With piano-playing singers there’s a thin line between cool and corny – and a hipster like Carmichael is an especially hard act to follow. But Ingham hits the sweet spot every time.


Garry Booth