By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

Though there’s always the friendly banter that she’s hijacks Facebook by posting every nanu second of her time in Hong Kong, there’s no getting away from the fact that Kathryn Farmer, the current resident singer at the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt, is very very good at what she does- Jazz-inflected interpretations of some of the greatest songs from all those wonderful tunesmiths in Tin Pan Alley interspersed with the Bossa Nova music of Antonio Carlos Jobim backed by the excellent resident trio who have seemingly been at the venue since the time when Methuselah first picked up a pair of bongos.

KATHRYN FARMER AND ALL THAT JAZZ 1

In a world where the word “jazz” is bandied about by way too many without any historical knowledge of the music genre, and those who fought to make it heard, Kathryn Farmer is a true, pure Jazz singer along the lines of Nancy Wilson, below, Natalie Cole, and, at times, tinges of Lena Horne.

KATHRYN FARMER AND ALL THAT JAZZ 2

Having grown up surrounded by the very early Jazz recordings of artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dakota Staton, Peggy Lee, Julie London and June Christie, thanks to a father who sang, played piano and hosted his own programme on radio, Kathryn Farmer- without her Facebook page and Instagram account- is a hark back to those days. It’s refreshing.

Her voice and material perfectly suits the Champagne Bar clientele- most on the mature side of the fence, remembering some of the songs, and happy in knowing that they do. Would Kathryn Farmer find a better showcase for her music in Hong Kong? Doubt it. Even those passive lounges in five star hotels want a little Uptown Funk travelling with Adele, and one truly doubts that this singer who’s made the rounds and been around most of the blocks in NYC, would not feel at ease being what she isn’t.

KATHRYN FARMER AND ALL THAT JAZZ 3

Compared to the brilliant music being made these days in Melbourne, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London, where amazing young singers backed by a looper breathe new life into even some of the most covered covers, Kathryn Farmer is a purist- a professional with letter-perfect pitch who can swing and sway and return an audience to that forever world of love songs that were built on romance. And there are those days, and depending on who’s with you and on your mind, it works.

Some days, going back to old school is a lesson in what music today is missing: Words that rhyme and melodies that hum.

KATHRYN FARMER AND ALL THAT JAZZ 4