Summertime inspires
outdoor jazz and blues

Stephen Barry makes a guest appearance at Mary-Ann Lacey’s August 13 concert

By Byron Toben

September 1, 2022

Jazz vocalist Mary-Ann Lacey continued her twice-monthly outdoor show at La Petite Marche on August 13. These sweet, jazzy and bluesy sounds of a summer evening can in a sense be traced back to Shakespeare’s 1605 A Midsummer Night’s Dream for which Felix Mendelsohn wrote an overture in 1826 and incidental music in 1842.

In 1955, Ingmar Bergman wrote and filmed Smiles of a Summer Night, inspiring Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 Broadway hit A Little Night Music and Woody Allen’s 1982 film A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy.

In this show, Ms. Lacey was joined by her frequent keyboard accompanist Sylvain LeBuis, and in the absence of her usual bassist Paul Vandyk, managed to track down and secure the contribution of the award-winning great Stephen Barry.

The program consisted of about 23 songs. Set One led off with the Fats Waller 1929 classic Honey Suckle Rose. Mr. Barry joined Ms. Lacey in a duet for part of it.

It continued with some of my favourites, such as Gus Kahn’s 1936 My Baby Just Cares for Me and Johnny Burke’s 1936 Pennies from Heaven.

Five other neat tunes later, the set concluded with two classics: Bill Monroe’s 1945 Blue Moon of Kentucky, which motivated two bouncy ladies in the audience to dance along on the sidewalk as guitarist Eric Sandmark, on a night off, joined Ms. Lacey in a vocal duet; and Louis Jordan’s 1943 Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?

Set Two opened with the Sept/Clare 1930 hit Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone, followed by the Jacobs/Secunda 1932 mega-hit Bei Mir Bist Du Schein.

The ever popular 1931 All Of Me by Marks/Simon soon followed, as well as two songs involving Tennessee, namely Tennessee Blues and the 1946 Stuart/King Tennessee Waltz which led to a dozen or so more audience couples joining in dancing along.

Ms. Lacey not only has a beautiful voice but is audience friendly. Surprising that the Montreal Jazz Fest has not picked this local star up – hint, hint.

Feature image: the Sandmark Trio (Sophie Charpentier, Mary-Ann Lacey and Eric Sandmark), by Signet

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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