Two of England's finest pop talents make their American debut this afternoon at the Corcoran Gallery's series on American Popular Song. Singer Sandra King and her accompanist and musical director Pat Smythe got used to Washington over the weekend by sitting in with jazz pianist and singer Shirley Horn at the One Step Down. "I think Sandra's probably the best singer of popular music in England," says Smythe, who has worked with some of the good ones--Cleo Laine, Anita O'Day, Mel Torme and Tony Bennett. "The late Bill Evans admired her work and so does Stan Getz, who invited her to sing with him when he was working in London. Sandra appeals to musicians and non-musicians alike because of the sheer beauty of her voice and the interesting material she performs."
King and Smythe have been working together since King was discovered by jazz singer Mark Murphy in a small East London pub at age 17. King has since graduated to a European circuit that includes frequent stops at Ronnie Scott's, England's most famous jazz club. "Considering the people Pat's played for, I'm very flattered that he likes working with me," she says. "He's not only a great jazz pianist, but a fine orchestrator and composer. As a matter of fact, I plan to sing several of his songs at the Corcoran." Most of today's program will focus on the songs of Vernon Duke, including "April in Paris," 'I Can't Get Started," "Autumn in New York," "Suddenly" and, just possibly, a song for the old sod, "London in July."