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AAA Music | 2 March 2024

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Roberta Flack – Live @ Cheltenham Jazz Festival

| On 06, May 2014

roberta-flack-cheltenham-jazz-2014

Saturday 3rd May, Cheltenham

Legendary American singer songwriter Roberta Flack is a well known jazz and R&B artist, and singles like ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’,’Where Is The Love’ and ‘The Closer I Get To You’ have become contemporary classics. She is the only solo artist to win a Grammy Award for Record of The Year in two consecutive years. This was in 1973 and 1974 for The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ and ‘Killing Me Softly with His Song’.

The ‘first lady of jazz’ also performed many duets with the late Donny Hathaway. A conversation she once had with songwriter Michael Masser convinced him to give her the song ‘Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You’, after RCA rejected it, and this returned her to the spotlight in the eighties.

Her cover of George Harrison’s ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ had depth and intimacy, whilst her version of ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville possibly enhanced the original. Bob Marley‘s ‘No Woman No Cry’ was expressive and emotional, and covers of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘Hey Jude’, often difficult Beatles numbers to perform, were warm and joyous.

Roberta is adored for her fine ballads. She still has charm, humour, a sensational voice and a beautiful smile. During this stunning two hour set she sang soulful and compelling songs, mostly seated at her piano stool and supported by her excellent six piece band. The incredible harmonies from her backing singers also helped make this an exceptional and polished performance.

Anthony Weightman