Thursday, November 20, 2014

Alice Zawadzki - London Jazz Festival 2014

Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, London. Wednesday 19th November 2014.

We were treated to an enchanting performance last night from Alice Zawadzki at the Royal Albert Hall. The set opened with the gruff chords and swirling folk tones of ‘Indome Para Marsilia’ before singers Emine Pirhasan and Jessica Berry joined for ‘Ring of Fire’. Alice has added a new groove section to the end of the track that, perhaps surprisingly, worked really well, guitarist Alex Roth digging in with some tasty overdriven lines.

One of the many set highlights was the Arabic influenced Spanish tones of ‘Dicho Me Habian Dicho’, a track Zawadzki learnt from Roth. The dark brooding introduction slowly built up momentum to an ecstatic and powerful conclusion. Zawadzki introduced and explained the story behind most tracks, the lovely three part harmonies and Frisell style guitar of ‘Low Sun; Lovely Pink Light’ being inspired by a beautiful sunrise one morning in Denmark.

The track of the night was a genuinely moving take on ‘You As a Man’. Pianist Lee opened with a really good sweeping retro organ introduction, reminding me of some of John Paul Jones playing for Zeppelin. Zawadzki joined with some beautifully sensitive singing, the piece then twisting into its dark and intense section making way for great solos from Roth and Lee.

The set closed with some fantastic three-part harmonies on ‘Cat’. The band was nicely warmed up and relaxed at this point, so it was a shame we had to leave it there for this relatively short late night set. Short but certainly sweet.

Alice Zawadzki: voice, violin
Alex Roth: guitar
Pete Lee: piano, synth
Tom McCredie: bass
Jon Scott: drums
Emine Pirhasan: voice
Jessica Berry: voice

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