As much as I love summer, the one downside of it is that all your music venues close down, and you have to move to obscure places in the middle of nowhere and be there at the right time to catch all these summer festivals.
Well, I unfortunately was mainly at the wrong place at the wrong time, so no concert for me since I started this blog by writing about Keith Jarrett’s solo concert back end of May (wow that’s way too long without a concert).
So I’m very happy to have the venues around me open again, and definitely will be going more regularly back to listen to live music.
I’ve previously already praised Sarah McKenzie’s new album on Impulse, so I was really looking forward to seeing here live. Business dinners made me miss her several concerts at the Duc des Lombards in Paris last week, so I was very happy to be able to see her at Moods, Zurich’s best Jazz club, on Monday (Oct 12).
And wow, what a concert that was. Let me first talk about her excellent band, with Jo Caleb on guitar, Pierre Boussaguet on bass, and Marco Valeri on drums. I’m not sure if these guys are a regular combo, but the interactivity between them was great. Marco Valeri by the way also plays on the Impulse album mentioned above.
Now you’re going to ask: what, no piano? No, just no extra pianist needed! I had read that Sarah plays the piano herself, but what I didn’t know from the studio produce album is just how well she does this. It’s impressive but she’s swinging and grooving like crazy.
And then you have her voice. The voice isn’t as technically impressive as some of her female Jazz singer contemporaries, but again, what is so amazing is how MUSICAL this entire performance was, you can really feel this is 100% her. It is truly unique, you’ll recognize her immediately. And this is really what makes her special, this full dedication to nothing but music (and having visibly a lot of fun doing just that).
And then there are her song-writing abilities. On We Could Be Lovers you already got some of her own compositions, but her concert was at least half of her own songs, like a very fun tango, or a calypso-style composition inspired by Sonny Rollins St. Thomas. She also played a great Jazz cover of Joni’ Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.
And thankfully we also got to hear Moon River, only guitar and voice, which pretty much left me speechless.
She’s still on tour in Europe, tomorrow (Oct 15) at Ronnie Scott’s in London, if you’re anywhere near one of her concerts, don’t miss it!
My prediction is that Sarah McKenzie will become one of the major Jazz singers of the 21st century, she’s that good.