Review: Juliet Kelly

Review: Juliet Kelly (Charlie Wrights International Bar Shoreditch, Wednesday October 28th, by Liz Scotney )

Charlie Wright’s International Bar, for those of you have not yet stumbled upon it, is a small, hidden away live music venue/pub in trendy Hoxton. The crowd consists of your locals, plus some late-home city boys, the fan club, a LondonJazz writer. A lively, friendly mix.

The evening got off to a great start with support act, young singer, Neo Joshua, accompanied by Juliet Kelly’s impressive keyboardist George Moore . He’s ex-Guildhall, like Juliet Kelly herself. Joshua, who warmed the crowd up with a few soul-jazz numbers, has a wide expressive range and beautiful warm lower register. Particularly successful was Donnie’s Do You Know from the 2002 album The Colored Section. Neo Joshua is definitely one to look out for in the future.

Juliet Kelly (above) is currently touring her new album, Licorice Kiss (released May 2009). The album is a real fusion of different styles, and Juliet and her band of George Moore, Carl Orr -guitarist, Jerome Davies-bass, Pat Illingworth-drums are well worth catching live. The set started off with Mutual Attraction, with some very sensitive guitar playing by Carl Orr, who later on continued to impress with his multi-genre musicianship…

Juliet has a superb pure jazz-soul voice, she’s a great performer and crowd-pleaser. She caught the eye with both a worryingly tight corset and a sparkly pink belt. She was performing her own self-penned tracks and other songs from her new album. There was a huge diversity of material from different genres, including reggae track, I’m still here, fused with a classic 80’s guitar solo by Carl Orr, a jazz cover of 80’s classic Back to Reality by Soul to Soul, totally revamped with a bossa feel. I’m a loyal fan of the original, but I also liked Kelly’s imaginative treatment of the song.

A highlight was ‘Liquorice Kiss’ the very catchy title track to the album, in which Juliet managed to persuade the majority of the crowd to be her “backing singers”. A fun track, made all the more intriguing by trying to decipher: what exactly is a liquorice kiss?! The band had a really good groove going in this song.

A twist to the evening was the poignant duet Smile by Charlie Chaplin, performed with just Juliet and guitarist Carl Orr, a really beautful song, which gave Juliet the chance to really shine and show off her versatility, emotion and the range of her voice. A few paparazzi provided an annoying distraction. A shame they should choose this quiet number as the one in which to capture the best shots. The mood was broken, and my companion struggled to avoid the giggles.

They finished off with original track Destiny, a fusion of jazz and rock, with a brilliant rock solo from Carl Orr and some more audience participation. Destiny is a spirit-lifiting song. The aptly written line “Destiny is yours to choose….” gave a nice reflective note on which to end an enjoyable evening of great live music.

Photo credit: Helena Dornellas

Categories: miscellaneous

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