Sandy Graham, who performed over the weekend at Alfonse's, is a slender, attractive and cheerful woman who sings in a no-nonsense manner that reflects her personality: unpretentious, agreeable and outgoing.
Conditions in the room were less than ideal. There was not enough light on her and not enough quiet (Friday nights always seem to bring out the talkers). Moreover, two of the three musicians accompanying Graham seemed never to have met her or each other. Bob Hammer appeared to be sight-reading the piano parts and Curtis Kirk was subbing for Jimmie Smith on drums. Only the bassist, Bob West, was a Graham regular.
Despite these limitations, Graham pulled it all together. Though not the most innovative of performers, she has a sound with the kind of agreeable edge to it that separates the jazzwomen from the girls.
Two of her songs were delivered at a tempo too slow to catch the attention of the crowd; however, her Billie Holiday medley of "Good Morning Heartache" and "Lover Man" brought out the emotional best in her.
Graham is something of a tune detective. She enjoys singing unfamiliar songs with familiar titles. Graham might consider building an entire show on this premise.