The Pockets – Sunday January 19 2020

To get a little taste of what we had for Brunch this Sunday at the Brisbane Jazz Club, listen to The Three Sirens in ‘Oh Brother, Where For Art Thou?’. And then listen to some classic Andrews Sisters harmonies.

And that is just a little of what was on the menu today. For this was a Variety Show. A Showcase of styles and arrangements. All expertly crafted by the combined talents of four great musicians, The Pockets, who are, (L to R):

Kellee Green – vocals, piano, melodica, concert ukulele and kazoo. (Kellee switched between the piano and the stage, when the melodica and/or kazoo were required).

Kylie Southwell  – vocals, melodica and baritone ukulele.

Joyclyn Vincent – vocals, tenor ukulele, banjulele, melodica and kazoo.

Samuel Vincent – Double Bass, uBass (which has a surprisingly deep and sumptuous resonance, for an instrument so small), occasional backing vocals and a little bit of whistlin’.

While individual band members have been playing together in various combinations for much longer, they first got together as a quartet in 2011. And since then, memorable engagements have included the Woodford Folk Festival, the Brisbane Cabaret Festival, the Brisbane Fringe Festival and the Melbourne Ukulele Festival. And, of course, the Brisbane Jazz Club!!

And here, at the Brisbane Jazz Club, we have signs advising patrons that we are a listening Club. Sometimes we have to reinforce that with a reminder from the stage.

But not today. Not one ear wanted to miss a note of those oh, so clean, tight, wrinkle-free and ear-catching, three and four-part harmonies. Bee-eautiful!!

The three ladies skilfully shifted and shared lead vocal duties and harmony parts through their three-set performance, as The Pockets took us on a memorable journey through some great original songs, (lyricist on many, David Megarrity, was in the audience), and a selection of imaginative, Pocket-ised arrangements of well-known and lesser-known covers.

They opened with an original, ‘You May As Well Smile’.  And smile we all did, as we were instantly captivated; attentive and ready to join them for memorable performances of songs such as ‘I Got Rhythm’, The Kinks’Sunny Afternoon’, a piano/cruisy double bass feel for ‘On The Sunny Side of the Street’, and ‘After You’ve Gone’, which started with a chilled finger snap.

There was a uniquely atmospheric arrangement of Paul Simon’s ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’, and a swinging version of Tom Waits’ ‘Rain Dogs’.

And one of many highlights was the Anita O’Dea-inspired arrangement of ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, which featured Samuel’s whistlin’, three ukes and a melodica, to end the second set.

More originals, including ‘Old-fashioned’, ‘Champagne and Dirty Martinis’ and  ‘Unaccompanied’, were laid between harmony specialities ‘Go to Sleep Little Baby’ and ‘Bushel and a Peck’; the latter moving abruptly away from its Andrews Sisters styling, when Kellee brought in her kazoo!!

And finally, to complete the circle; having brought us in with a smile, they took us out and sent us home with ‘When You’re Smiling’.

Gentle and soothing at times. Energy to burn when required. The Pockets shared with us a rainbow of colour and song selection, their love of their music and their joy of performing together. And their talent.

They gave us an inspiring, heart-string plucking Sunday Brunch session.

And left us with a big smile. Thank you.

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club