A Homecoming For Jazz Singer Starts Upbeat

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A Homecoming For Jazz Singer Starts Upbeat

A song recorded for the blockbuster movie "Swiri," released in 1998, skyrocketed Carol Kidd's popularity in Asia, and in a sort of homecoming, she returned to Korea two years later for her first concert appearance. The Philip Morris Korea Jazz Concert, held last week at the Grand Hyatt Seoul Hotel, drew an audience of more than 600.

The jazz singer, 56, has been singing since she was 15 years old. Her voice has invited comparisons to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. Ms. Kidd, who left her home country, Scotland, for a jet-setting tour throughout Asia, opened the Seoul concert to frenzied applause from the audience.

She opened with "Always," then moved to "Little Girl Blue," swaying during the interlude.

After introducing her four-piece band (piano, bass, drums and classic guitar), she slowly began with the lyrics to "The Sunny Side of the Street..." The pace built up as she continued: "Grab your coat and get your hat, on the sunny side of the street. Yeah!"

Then she broke into dancing on a light-flooded stage.

Mixing smoky upbeat song verses with melancholic ones, with closed eyes she sang, "I miss you most of all, my darling, when the autumn leaves start to fall."

For the next song, a tall and lanky harmonica player came out and stood shoulder to head with the shorter Ms. Kidd, much to the audience's delight. Accompanied by the harmonica and piano, she sang "One for My Baby," in a tribute to Frank Sinatra.

Afterward, she said, "This is a song I just recorded for Synnara Music. I hope you like it."

The audience clapped in expectation, then stilled at the first bars from the classic guitar. Ms. Kidd sang a shivering rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

She continued a commanding stage presence with a variety of songs, from lively skat renditions of "Wade in the Water" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," to a haunting Scottish country song accompanied by a harpist, to the blues.

After singing for an hour and a half, not including an intermission that the audience originally mistook for the end, she yelled out, "I love you, Seoul!"

Above the ensuing noise, Ms. Kidd waved her arms and said, "That's enough. I would like to sing a song we did for 'Swiri.'"

The backstage curtains rose, revealing an impressive water fountain behind a ceiling-to-floor glass wall. Illuminated by a warm glow from the outdoor water garden, she concluded with "When I Dream," the song that touched off her fame in Asia.

When the concert ended around 11 p.m., Carol Kidd quickly vanished into a dressing room at the Grand Ballroom.

Five minutes later, she emerged, tired but smiling, to meet her elegantly dressed fans. For over 30 minutes, she signed CD covers, posters, Polaroid pictures of her and her fans and even a 10,000 won bill.

"The oddest thing I've ever signed was a T-shirt that had bullet holes in it," she said. "I didn't ask any questions."

by Joe Yong-hee

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