Georgia Mancio's last album, Live At Revoice!, captured her clear, concise voice in a duo setting, which suited her intimate singing style. Earlier this year, she announced that she was putting the ReVoice! Festival - which she founded back in 2010 - on hold for the foreseeable future, while she looked to pursue other projects. Her new band, Quadro, is the first of these projects, and made its debut at The Pheasantry on London's King's Road on a cold, crisp February evening.
Quadro is a somewhat confusing name for non-Italians. It means 'picture' in Italian, not 'four' or 'quartet', and the band is in fact a trio. Mancio is joined by the experienced bass player, Andy Cleyndert, and the fine pianist, Frank Harrison. The singer has known Cleyndert for twenty years; he produced her last album, and they enjoyed a strong rapport on stage, even performing as a duo on Sting's Fragile. Cleyndert introduced Mancio to Harrison a year or so ago. He studied at Berklee, and has since performed with the likes of Gilad Atzmon, Julian Arguelles and Iain Ballamy. He has a trio of his own, which has also released four albums.
The band had made their debut at the RAC Club a few days earlier, but this was their first real gig - and hopefully the first of many!
They opened with Ellington's Prelude To A Kiss, which opened with a delightful introduction by Harrison, before going straight into another Ellington number, Day Dream, which was co-written with Billy Strayhorn. Mancio's phrasing was just exquisite, and the packed audience was hooked. Just In Time followed. Cleyndert shone here, taking a superb solo, before Mancio returned, playing with the song's phrasing in a style which reminded me of Anita O'Day. The new band got the chance to shine on an instrumental version of If I Should Lose You, before the singer returned with But Beautiful, a Jimmy Van Heusen song which originally featured in the movie Road To Rio in 1947. Mancio's love of the lyrics came across clearly, and to my mind, this was the highlight of the first set.
The second set was no less impressive. We loved Mancio's version of Fragile on her live album, and it was good to hear the song again in person. Sinatra's I'm A Fool To Want You is another favourite of mine, and the band played this a faster pace than the original, which worked surprisingly well. On Kurt Weill's My Ship, Mancio was accompanied by just piano, with Harrison showing just how good he is. The Things We Did Last Summer has been recorded by countless artists, but Mancio was enamoured with Nancy Wilson's version. The whistling solo took the audience by surprise, but I have never heard anyone whistle that well before! The set came to a close with a lovely version of Moon River, which she dedicated to the migrants in Calais, a cause close to her heart.
Quadro are embracing on a UK tour over the next couple of months, and are well worth seeing if you get the chance. You can find the tour dates on Georgia Mancio's website here.
Hopefully they'll also be in the recording studio before the end of the year.
Photographs: Dave Ohm