Monday, 28 January 2013

J’CA JAZZ & BLUES 2013: Two American ladies of song delight with unique styles

DIONNE WARWICK: A study in class and timeless perfection 

By the time, Dionne Warwick invited her eldest son, David Elliott, onstage to join her for a lively performance of the megahit “Say A Little Prayer,” the mega-sized crowd at Jamaica Jazz & Blues was long in her thrall, completely entranced by this ageless goddess who expertly weaves a beautifully melodious tapestry of lyrical beauty and vocal precision to delight and satisfy her fans and listeners. As the most dignified performer on the third and final night of the festival, Warwick left us more than satisfied, offering glorious renditions of everything from “Walk on By,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “Do You Know the Way to San José?” to bring-the-house-down, singalong tunes like “Heartbreaker” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” to name only a few. Naturally, a standing ovation greeted Miss Warwick as she took her final bow. 

MONICA: Pulsating R&B-soul from the Grammy-winning Atlanta songstress

Confession: I didn’t know quite what to expect from a Monica performance at an event like Jamaica Jazz & Blues, given that while her repertoire does include a cache of wonderful R&B cuts, her body of work remains limited in scope. Still, the Atlanta-based songstress was able to inject her Saturday-night performance with a shot of adrenaline and moments of soulful resonance – not to mention drawing on the noteworthy chops of her fantastic trio of male backup singers, who thrilled with their performance of a Bob Marley suite. Monica, meantime, showed that those vocal chords haven’t lost an ounce of their power. “Everything to Me,” “You Should’ve Known Better” and “Just One of them Days” were splendidly sung standouts. Finishing off her set with a classy yet energetic touch, she belted Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." Not a bad option.

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