Paul’s singing career has seen him appear at many leading venues over the years. He has sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Jazz Club, the Pheasantry, the Crazy Coqs and the Hippodrome Casino. Although he does not consider himself a jazz singer in the strict sense of the term, he has drawn high praise from such magazines as Jazzwise and Jazz Journal for the ease with which he works with jazz musicians. In fact, Paul is best described as a singer in the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett – at home in the jazz idiom but most keenly interested in the lyric of a song, its meaning and expression being paramount concerns.
A keen student of the Great American Songbook, he has amassed a vast repertoire and takes pride in never performing the same set list twice. While he has learned a great deal by listening to great singers from the past, his rich baritone is very much his own and he has earned much admiration for his sense of a lyric and its phrasing. As Jazzwise magazine put it, he “sings with a knowledge and understanding of the nuances and wit of the great lyricists…each song a narrative…personal and poignant, opening up a thousand memories.”
In 2018, Paul released the album “Blame It On My Youth – Live at the Pheasantry” (Bell Note BLA0001) on which he is featured with the Kenny Clayton Trio (Kenny Clayton, piano; Eric Guy, bass and Mike “Ozzie” Osborn, drums). The album is available to buy here on CD or via iTunes
Here are two Jazzwise reviews of earlier performances by Paul and the Kenny Clayton Trio:
In 2019, Paul paid tribute to his great hero, Fred Astaire, whose dazzling prowess as a dancer has long overshadowed the major contribution his singing made to the Great American Songbook. As the vocalist of choice for such composers as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and many others, Mr Astaire introduced over 130 songs into the repertoire and many have gone on to be enduring classics. In a show called “The Way You Wear Your Hat – the Fred Astaire Songbook”, Paul was joined by pianist Jamie Safir in a welcome effort to put the record straight. It was warmly received by Jazz Journal with this review.
Characteristically, the Astaire show featured a wealth of anecdotes shedding light on Mr Astaire’s career and paying due attention to his many partners including not only Ginger Rogers (his most frequent screen partner) but also his sister Adele Astaire with whom he had a long on-stage partnership before he entered films. George and Ira Gershwin wrote “How Long Has This Been Going On?” to be sung by Adele Astaire in the original Broadway production of “Funny Face” in 1927 but they changed their minds and she sang another number, “He Loves and She Loves” instead. Both numbers featured in the 1957 film “Funny Face”, the first sung by Audrey Hepburn, the second by Mr Astaire, so it seemed legitimate for Paul to pair the two songs in tribute to both Fred and Adele Astaire.
“The Way You Wear Your Hat – the Fred Astaire Songbook” is available for touring. The show runs for approx. 90 mins and can be performed with or without an interval. Interested venues should enquire via firstname.lastname@example.org
Also in 2019, Paul teamed with Jamie for a show inspired by the historic collaboration between Tony Bennett and jazz pianist Bill Evans which produced two memorable studio albums in 1975 and 1977. This show was notable for liberating Jamie from the role of accompanist and placing him in an equal partnership with Paul as an interpreter of their chosen selection of songs.
Whether conducting on-stage interviews at the Cine Lumiere in English and French or hosting programmes for Soho Radio, Paul has proved himself an accomplished and knowledgeable presenter for over thirty years.