Any performance by Purdy - still known to most in the music business as talented singer-songwriter Rebecca Poole - will always leave an audience grinning broadly with heads swaying and feet tapping. And her recent appearance at Wallingford's beautifully refurbished and intimate Corn Exchange venue was no exception!

Purdy simply oozes charisma, fun and warmth. She has a sultry, sure-footed style, singing in the lower clef with stunning vocal prowess - and she is always easy to enjoy. Since I first interviewed her five years ago, Rebecca - or Purdy, as her management have now renamed her - has developed great confidence and her instinctive connection with an audience, whether in the thousands or a mere hundred or two, prompts an immediate warm response.

None of this is surprising for, over recent years, Purdy has done a great deal. She has been a regular on stage at Ronnie Scott's and various other top jazz clubs in London and the South East. She recently supported Jools Holland on tour and at a sell-out Albert Hall show where her performance was widely acclaimed. She played to 90,000 at a major Wembley Stadium charity event and as Rebecca Poole she has sung at private concerts for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Mick Jagger plus other big names in the music world.Her songs are regularly featured on BBC Radio Two. In her earlier days Rebecca received support and encouragement from various music icons including Deep Purple's Jon Lord. And, unusually, the young Rebecca Poole also features in several portraits by artist Jack Vettriano who approached her to model for him.

Purdy has penned many bright, catchy, contemporary numbers - 'Follow Your Heart' and 'Look into Your Mirror' are great early examples - and on stage she mixes some of these with nicely original covers of standards and jazz classics. Her influences include Julie London, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. At Wallingford there were memorable renditions of 'Moon River', 'Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps', 'Put the Blame on Mame', 'Bye Bye Blackbird, 'Dance Me to the End of Love' and her own song, 'Big Tree'.

Purdy's supporting musicians were all superb too. On guitar was Hugh Turner whose virtuosity is always stunning. From conventional but intricate jazz guitar, to heavy-duty blues or a light latin-american style, Hugh Turner can create different textures that really captivate an audience. And Raph Mizraki's fluid, compelling and powerful bass plus Stuart Henderson's ability on trumpet, horn and much else completed the very professional sound of Purdy's performance.

Rebecca Poole, the daughter of a dairy farmer, was raised in the little Oxfordshire village of Nettlebed on the estate of the family of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Wallingford was the nearest small town - so this performance, Rebecca's first ever appearance in Wallingford - was very much a home-coming occasion for her. It was an opportunity to introduce Purdy to the locals - and it was a spectacular success! They could not have been more impressed!

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Commenting On: Corn Exchange, Wallingford, 10/11/2018 - Purdy

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