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AAA Music | 20 April 2019

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Joanna Eden: Embraceable Ella – Live @ St. James Theatre

| On 24, Nov 2015

JOANNA EDEN - Embraceable Ella

Sunday 15th November, London

Charming jazz singer Joanna Eden began to study the piano from the age of four and performed her first song ‘Happy December’ at just seven. Today she’s released four albums, performed her own music internationally and supported artists like The Blockheads, Jamie Cullum, Ronan Keating and The Buena Vista Social Club.

At this EFG London Jazz Festival evening Joanna sung the much-loved music of Ella Fitzgerald supported by her lively and impressive quintet:  Julian Landymore (tenor saxophone & flute), Steve Waterman (trumpet), Chris Ingham ( piano & guitar), Dave Olney (double bass) and George Double (drums).

She started with the bright and swinging ‘Get Happy’ and ‘(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)’ ,written by Sam Coslow, impressively imitated Ella Fitzgerald‘s scat style, whilst mischievous ‘Let’s Do It’ by Cole Porter delighted the audience with those well known absurd and suggestive lyrics.

The joyous Brazilian bossa nova ‘Desafinado’, by Antonio Carlos Jobim was followed by another fine one, ‘Moonlight In Vermont’ , though it’s quite unusual to find the latter 1940s song presented in this particular genre.

Sensitive and expressive compositions by George and Ira Gershwin included ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, whilst ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’ compared different pronunciations like “you like to-may-toes” and “I like to-mah-toes”, reflecting attitudes towards social class in 1930s America.

‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ completed this moving evening with Cole Porter lyrics that celebrated happiness in the company of loved ones, but also recognised the pain of separation. It’s likely that most people at the venue were still struggling to understand the terrible events that had unfolded in Paris two days earlier.

Joanna Eden, sometimes compared with Diana Krall and Norah Jones, praised Ella Fitzgerald as “a nice warm hug of a singer” and her songs had the same natural warmth and intensity. This was an evening of fresh, bright and uplifting melodies with a touch of glamour and mystery.

Anthony Weightman