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Bebop Spoken There

Michael Feinstein: “Fred Astaire is my favorite singer. To me, he was the perfect interpreter of American popular song.” – (Jazz Times December 2014).

Bud Shank: “Once I saw California – that was it, I stayed.” – (Jazz Journal May 1991)

Archives.

Today Tuesday February 21

Jam Session - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. Free.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Chillin’ with the Cello - Ayanna Witter-Johnson @ The Jazz Cafe December 9


(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley).
Despite this gig starting at the ungodly hour of 7pm the Jazz Cafe was packed for the performance of the British folk/soul singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson. The audience, some with sleep still in their eyes, were rewarded with a performance of charm, elegance, and sheer quality. Witter-Johnson had arrived with a very impressive CV - MOBO nominated and the only non-American ever to win Amateur Night at the iconic Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Accompanied mainly on her cello ‘Reuben’ and occasionally on her first instrument, piano, Ayanna performed a series of self-penned songs with a smattering of covers with great aplomb. Most of the originals are based on her own life’s experience encompassing loves past, present, and future. My only reservation with these numbers was that they all seemed to be played at the same smooth and relaxed level. Personally, I would have preferred some occasional dramatic outbursts to take us out of our comfort zone.
The covers did offer some welcome contrast particularly a Jamaican folk song and Oleta Adam’s Get Here which was the first song Ayanna performed in public (aged 9) and was further enhanced with backing vocals from the audience. Her cello playing was absolutely enthralling,  aside from the traditional bow, Ayanna plucked, strummed and hit (ever so gently)  Reuben to extract some wonderful sound from this most beguiling of instruments. By the end of the evening the packed Cafe had been thoroughly captivated and entertained by this super talented artist who will only get better and better. To quote from the song of night; Black Panther ‘like a black panther I’m free to roam without a keeper you’ll never need to feel my power’.
Steve H.

1 comment :

  1. Looks like I picked the wrong weekend to stop eating.

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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