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A fine finale

Ten years or so ago a girl trying to break into the jazz singing game was performing in the open air to handfuls of diners outside a restaurant in Marlborough, having got a sort of short time newcomer's slot at the jazz festival.
On Sunday that same girl, now one of the first ladies of British jazz, not only starred at this year's final concert (not for the first time) but absolutely held the festival's biggest audience in the palm of her hand.
That's the way fans think about Clare Teal these days. Backed this time by just a solidly swinging trio, she was at the top of her form, and the crowd called for encores and roared their appreciation for minutes in the Priory Marquee, the biggest arena in town on these occasions.
She could do no wrong, freewheeling her way through great standards like Mountain Greenery, Porgy, Secret Love, Feelin' Good and California Dreaming and a delightful version of Ella Fitzgerland's My Heart went Oops.
Backed with total confidence by bassist Simon Little, Steve Rushton on drums and Grant Wheeler on piano, Clare had made it an afternoon of jazzy joy, ending a fine festival on a fabulous top note.
Even the sun came out as the event's now longtime administrator Nick Fogg gave the thumbs-up to all three days of hugely varied music covering almost every shade of the genre.
Earlier in the day fans and players had mingled at the festival jazz service at St. Mary's Church, and at the Marquee young local musicians The Jazzports under the direction of Mick Allport, had warmed up the audience for Clare's tour de force finale.

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