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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ The Globe – September 8

Nifemi Osiyemi (vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex/Photo courtesy of Sheila Herrick)
I’d wanted to hear Niffi ever since I recently caught the tail end of one of her songs at a Jazz Cafe jam session, where she’d gone down a storm. Saturday night was my chance, and thank goodness I was there, as this gig was a real humdinger. Niffi’s voice is rich and sultry, the delivery skilled and enthusiastic, and her friendly personality shone throughout. The material included some numbers that you don’t hear very often nowadays, such as Darktown Strutters’ Ball.
But no drummer?
No problem! This gave lots more space for soloing on piano, and especially for the bass to really show what he could do. Paul had long, rich, solos, fooling the audience (and possibly Niffi and Alan!) with pretend endings, encouraging and clapping along for some tunes, unusual variations, and even knocking on the instrument’s belly during Hallelujah I Love Him So to illustrate the boy next door calling on his girlfriend. And the audience, mostly younger people, was with the band all the way.
Almost Like Being In Love, began Niffi, and I believe the audience fell in love with her voice. The instrumentalists had solos during most songs, an advantage of being a trio. I Love Being Here With You, she sang, surely a message to the audience. Then came a slow, slinky Undecided (First you say you will and then you won’t); a bluesy Why Don’t You Do Right? very expressive, with some wordless vocals.
The audience needed some swing, in the form of This Can’t Be Love. Then came one of my personal favourite songs, not heard often enough, so thank you Niffi from me, for I Keep Going Back To Joe’s. As Niffi said, this song conveys perfectly the atmosphere of a smoky, lonely bar. Hallelujah I Love Him So had Alan doing great blocks of sound on piano, Paul with his false endings and knocking the body of the bass, all stops out. Darktown Strutters’ Ball rounded off the first half with scat singing.

The second half was even livelier: Sweet Georgia Brown was slow then faster; Get Happy had a beautiful melodic piano introduction, fast bass, audience clap-a-long, then Niffi  holding one of the longest notes I’ve heard this year, I wish I had her lungs! A surprise, Radiohead’s Creep, a rather dark rock number, which I wish had lasted longer as it’s a very satisfying song to sing. (I know, I’ve tried it). Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home? had some original words as the singer sang that she was sick of the words usually sung! After Drown In My Own Tears and I’ll Put A Spell On You, we had I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free, which was sung with feeling as it was the first song that Niffi did in public; the final song was Let The Good Times Roll, with fearless, wild, high, scat, and an improvising mention of all people, old, young, from wherever, Darlington, Newcastle...

A fitting finale to an exuberant evening.

Ann Alex    

1 comment :

Robin Bosanquet said...

Completely agree that this was a great evening. What a great Trio and Niffi's voice is very special.

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