Paul Pace sang Jon Hendricks’ words written for Bobby Timmons’ classic call and response swinger ‘Moanin’’ pianist Steve Lodder here effortlessly supplying the required feel leading the rhythm section to open the latest Soho jazz Wednesday at the Spice of Life.

Lodder best known for his acclaimed work over many years with Andy Sheppard, bassist Dermot McNeill from the Human Revolution Orchestra, and Soft Machine Legacy drummer Nic France then backed support act singer Souz E. Cue, Zakian coming on to take the vocals microphone after a break, the trio added to by Zakian’s husband, baritone saxophonist Paul Bartholomew, the character all in his timbre. 

Zakian’s style, wrapped around a Sinatra theme, was crisp and no-nonsense, technically very accomplished, capable of delivering plenty of light and shade, not reverting to romantic or even torch song cliché but delving into the dark where necessary and making the familiar ring brightly. On the very up ‘Makin’ Whoopee,’ which the singer recorded on her album Songs For Modern Lovers, she bounced off bassist McNeill who dribbled the groove like a basketball player to hoop the ball over and over again as the audience responded with smiles, Zakian’s reading suitably devil may care. Story and photo: Stephen Graham 

Dermot McNeill and Laura Zakian, above