Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Dunstan Playhouse
Until 16 Jun 2019

Review by Luke Wagner

There are some incredibly iconic voices in the world of Jazz. Frink Sinatra, for example, stands out for his immediately recognisable dee voice and tones. Chet Baker was a Jazz trumpeter and singer whose voice was known for being softer and more haunting.

In “Lost in a Dream”, Roscoe James Irwin emulates Baker’s music with his own arrangements and is accompanied by a full string section, pianist, drummer and bassist. Through the show, Irwin weaves the story of Baker’s troubled life of addiction and the law, intertwined with his incredibly vulnerable and haunting jazz recordings reimagined.

Irwin told the audience that his aim was to replicate the golden era of the 50s jazz and to create almost a dreamlike state. In this, he succeeds over and over. Each song is beautifully arranged and exquisitely executed. Irwin is so deeply immersed into the music as he sings, plays the trumpet and conducts the string section all within each song. To watch this performer execute this show is a true wonder to behold. Irwin is immensely talented man whose dedication to his idol has been carried out with such perfection that it’s hard to find fault at any stage.

The structure of show is simple and pure cabaret – songs with a story woven through. Irwin had the audience captivated from his first few notes through to his last and that is not an easy thing to achieve. The stillness during the final number was incredible as Irwin spoke of Baker’s death in 1988 and simply wanted to remember this great musician for a recording that was vulnerable and hauntingly beautiful.

An amazing opportunity to experience soulful and beautiful jazz at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival.