Jazz breaking news: Flooded Club Fails To Thwart Heidi Vogel As The Show Must Go On

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Water cascading down the stairs and partially flooding the Pizza Express Jazz Club, after a heavy shower of rain last night in Soho, did its very best to ruin the launch of singer Heidi Vogel’s new album Lágrimas de um Pássaro (Tears of a Bird).

The tears could indeed have been flowing freely if valiant staff with their mops and a bunch of resilient musicians hadn’t rallied round to turn a gig that was now “cancelled” into an intimate unplugged affair because of health and safety with only a few amps for company and the bass, drums, piano and drums unamplified.

Just as well really as an expectant full house had turned out to hear the Cinematic Orchestra singer delivering tasteful bossas and sambas along with a fine band to her side and singer extraordinaire Eska providing backing harmonies to her husky tones. Before the gig could begin after a short delay while the mops were sported things took a still further surreal turn as the helpful announcer drafted into action delivered an operatic aria to keep everyone’s spirits up (!) and crucially buy a little time.

With little amplification it took a minute or so to adjust to the sound balance but surprisingly this wasn’t a problem in the intimate surroundings of the club with only Josué Ferreira’s rhythm guitar lost at times. Ivo Neame and Jasper Hǿiby on piano and bass (two thirds of Phronesis no less) rose admirably to the occasion, while Adriano Adewale’s fizzing percussion in tandem with Ernesto Simpson on drums really drove the singers along. Highlights of the set included ‘Midnight Sun’ and a wonderful version of Wayne Shorter’s ‘Footprints’ complete with a beautifully layered scat solo by Eska. It was definitely one of those nights, and Vogel explained that another launch would now be held in September for the album, hopefully without the need for wellies. – Stephen Graham

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