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Jazzmeia Horn - Searching for the Unexpected

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Monday November 26, 2018

From The Arts Desk

Jazzmeia Horn, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review – searching for the unexpected
By: Peter Quinn

Aside from her incredible time feel, exceptional range and consistently beautiful timbre, what was most impressive about Jazzmeia Horn’s bravura performance at a sold-out Ronnie Scott’s was the sense of joyousness and vitality that coursed through her music-making.

Listening to the singer’s phrasing in a blistering, gear-changing account of “Willow Weep For Me”, she took more risks during the course of a single chorus than some vocalists do throughout their entire career. And while Horn has always been quick to give her esteemed musical antecedents, vocalists Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter, their due, the names of Louis Armstrong, Clifford Brown and Roy Hargrove were also irrevocably called to mind as being equally important touchstones.

The incredibly tight rapport between Horn and her musicians was everywhere in evidence, nowhere more so than a standout interpretation of the Victor Schertzinger/Johnny Mercer-penned standard “I Remember You”, which segued in a heartbeat from a dreamy, free time introduction to hard-driving swing, with the vocalist floating over the bar lines and working in a quote from “Have You Met Miss Jones?” for good measure.

Horn’s stellar band featured the versatile pianist Victor Gould, a long-standing musical collaborator who has performed with the vocalist ever since her move to New York in 2009, bassist Barry Stephenson, whose fine solo lit up “Sometimes I’m Happy”, plus the Detroit-born, NYC-based drummer Henry Conerway III, the latest in a long line of remarkable jazz musicians emanating from the Motor City.

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