Wendy Matthews sings Jazz on a Summer’s Day at Kings Park


Wendy Matthews.
Wendy Matthews.

AFTER more than 40 years as a singer, Wendy Matthews is still learning – and she hopes she always will be.

The 58-year-old chanteuse is teaming up with trumpet great James Morrison for the Jazz on a Summer’s Day concert at Kings Park on March 25.

She has never performed with Morrison before and is looking forward to spreading her wings.

“I would never call myself a jazz singer – boxes aren’t my favourite thing,” she said.

“I don’t read or write music – I’m always learning, and that’s basically what keeps me going.

“I’m at a stage in my life where I’m not racing towards something. I know myself better than I ever have.

“I feel safer in pushing the envelope these days.”

Matthews’ solo career reached its commercial peak in the early 1990s, when she recorded hits such as Token Angels, Friday’s Child and Let’s Kiss (Like Angels Do).

But it is The Day You Went Away, a sparse, aching ballad from her 1992 album Lily, for which she is best remembered.

The version Matthews recorded was radically different from the original.

“At the time it was a jungle/house track from London,” Matthews said.

“T Bone Burnett, who was producing, said ‘Let’s get Booker T from Booker T and the MGs over here and we’ll just sit down at the piano and learn the basic chords’.

“Booker and I sat down at the piano and he basically just played the chords out.

“At the end of it I looked at him and said ‘how did you do that?’. He said ‘I’ve got no idea’.

“T-Bone said ‘I’ve just recorded that and that is the track you’re going to sing to’.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Where: Kings Park

When: Sunday, March 25

Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com.au