Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Review; Jann Arden Keeps Them Laughing

Variety shows once ruled television …

 

Music, comedy and drama – all inclusive in an hour long Sunday night program. A Jann Arden concert is a one woman variation on the above formula as all the aforementioned elements shine within.

From the get – go, Arden is a joker in a self depreciating kinda way. Whether it is her ‘poor choice of pants’, her broken top (fixed quickly by a nearby clamp) or her ‘shot’ at Shania Twain – Arden uses humor as quick as any Canadian can. Oh – and she can sing with the best of them also.

Where No One Knows Me, Wishing That,  At Seventeen, I Would Die For You , Not Your Little Girl .

Just a few of the starters served up between the comedic antidotes. Reminders that a long time ago (it seems), before the TV appearances on the Rick Mercer Report and all the humor Arden is associated with – there was ( and is) a truly talented songwriter. 

 

You Don’t Know Me, Anyone Who Had a Heart (Burt Bacharach cover), To Sir With Love, Could I Be Your Girl and  Little Bird – signified the sounds and vocals that are immediately Arden.

Like Murray, like Celine and like Sarah – Arden has a distinct style and persona in her voice and presence. Like all the above, a certain melancholia takes the reins and pushes the audience into a happy sadness.  A certain comfort in the sounds of Canada. In the sounds of refection.

If one song defines the image of Arden – Insensitive would be a non sensitive choice.

The punters on their feet with so much adoration in their hearts for Arden and the song Insensitve – a group hug was minutes away as the defining moment became just that. Add a backing band filled with so much integrity – it was difficult to not bask in the pure joy of music. Of Arden’s music.

If there was any danger of a show-gone-bad, it was Arden’s temporary explanation of her drinking problem. Something she says has stopped. Up to that point – a roll was upheld and gaining strength. Arden holding the recipe for success. In this day and age, sad stories are aplenty. Arden took what was an escape for the punters and dropped more reality into their problems. Connecting with some yet disconnecting from most who were out to have as good time.

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Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Review; Cecile McLorin Salvant – The Voice of An Angel

A voice is an instrument.

Aside from Lisa Fischer ( Twenty Feet to Stardom, Rolling Stones back-up singer) – vocalists like Cecile MClorin Salvant come around as often as Haley’s comet.

With the same ease as most walk, Salvant traverses the scales, intonations and vocal range as elegantly as a debutante at a coming of age party. Salvant does so with as much effort as flicking a fly away from the dinner plate.

FogEverything I’ve Got Belongs to YouSpoonful and Stepsister’s Lament were just some of the main courses Salvant’s band served to the audience (and Salvant) with precision, texture and a lot of breathing room for Salvant to play. 

Tunes such as Spoonful – familiar yet somehow as fresh as the cool wind blowing in from the St. Lawrence river. Cecile, reaching to depths known only to her as the mask of Howlin’ Wolf’s classic song is removed and tossed aside to display the inner beauty of Salvant.

 

It could be a spoonful of coffee
It could be a spoonful of tea
But one little spoon of your precious love
Is good enough for me

 

Wives and LoversSi J’étais Blanche (Bobby Falk / Leo Lelièvre / Henri Varna), Omie WiseNever Will I Marry and The Ballad of the Shape of Things – a concert whose content made up for all the Divas in the world making millions through auto tune. Salvant enjoying the experience as if no one was in the room …

Darkies Never Dream and Sam Jones’ Blues stood apart with their opposite moods and lyrics. The former – as whimsical as a stroll through the park with cotton candy blowing in your face while the latter; a testament to all those with dreams dancing in their souls. Both songs somewhat biographical in a third person sense from Salvant. A storyteller conveying  fiction into a non fiction audience.

If Cecile Mclorin Salvant’s voice is an instrument – the world’s problems will be fixed with no labor or service charges added on.

Visit The 39th Edition of The Festival Here !

BackTraxx Here !

 

Join me Thursdays 7 -10pm on Rock -FM.ca