Monday, 28 January 2013

J’CA JAZZ & BLUES 2013: John Legend, passionate singing and masterful piano-playing

WOW FACTOR: Legend delights the crowd. Inset: with Gramps Morgan.

What a show! Perhaps the most mesmerizing example of a musician perfectly in tune with his instrument is John Legend lording over his piano and his rapt audience. The result, as witnessed Saturday night at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, is nothing short of ear-pleasing magic. 

Possessed of a commanding tenor and masterful piano-playing skills, John’s one-of-a-kind charisma is matched only by a riveting stage presence. Once he got the show going, his plethora of crowd-pleasing solos (including “This Time,” “Everybody Knows” and “So High”) came off wonderfully, but the consummate entertainer knows how to raise the musical stakes, as they were, and he pulled this off beautifully by teaming up with Jamaica’s own Tarrus Riley for a spirited, sweetly flavoured version of “Stay With You” and earlier with Gramps Morgan on “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Both performances met with resounding cheers.

To say that the patrons thoroughly enjoyed those totally unexpected moments would serve to diminish the gloriously profound impact. But arguably what left the most lingering impression was the fact that Legend sat and played for well over an hour without showing the slightest sign of exhaustion. Such a trouper! More to the point, John blessed us with a pitch-perfect blend of straight-from-the-heart singing and passionate delivery. 

YOUNG LEGEND: Romain Virgo, a serious talent too outsize to be ignored 
Delivering a spellbinding set, replete with manic energy and melodious highs, Romain Virgo once again proved what TALLAWAH has been preaching all along: he is a young legend and heir apparent to Beres Hammond’s throne. Appearing in an eye-catching all-blue suit (his nod to the name of the festival), Virgo wasted no time in stamping his authority on the stage as he reeled off consecutive hit tunes, best among them “Love Doctor,” “Rich In Love” and the heartfelt anthem “I Know Better.” Still, the real highlights, without doubt: well-applauded “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Let’s Get It On,” “Don’t You Remember?” and the curtain-closer “The System.” Quite possibly, the finest showing to date by the now 23-year-old singer-songwriter.

>> Dionne Warwick and Monica: Class acts, unique styles

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