Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lizz Wright concert review

Last night I went to see jazz singer Lizz Wright at Koerner Hall in downtown Toronto. The opening act for this concert was classically trained cabaret singer Patricia O'Callaghan. Patricia is associated with the Soulpepper Theater Company so I assume she is popular in the Toronto theater community. But she's not a jazz singer and she should not have been booked to open a jazz concert. She's too pretentious for me so I didn't care for her. We had an intermission and Lizz came out with her band. Lizz grew up singing in church in Atlanta. She was discovered by Joe Sample of The Crusaders and that led to a contract with Verve. That's when I first heard of her. Her latest album Freedom & Surrender was released Sept. 2015 and it's her first album on Concord. It was produced by Larry Klein who used to be married to Joni Mitchell and he is currently married to the fabulous Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Someone please bring her to town. Klein and Lizz wrote most of the songs on the album with veteran songwriter David Batteau. They use mostly session musicians on the album. Lizz's touring band is led by organist Kenny Banks and he has worked with Lizz for a decade. Other musicians were Chris Rosser on guitar, Nicholas D'Amato on bass and veteran sideman Brannen Temple on drums. Lizz told this story that she told on Facebook about Prince coming to her show in Minneapolis last week. I thought she might do a Prince song but she did not. Instead she performed a cover of the Neil Young classic Old Man. She performed some other covers like the standard I'm Confessin' and also some original songs. Though Lizz is classified as jazz, her main influence is gospel similar to Gregory Porter who appears on her new album. She mixes several styles of music seamlessly and I love her voice. She doesn't sound like any other jazz singer. I thought her band was great especially Banks who got in some great organ solos. I don't know why there was an opening act as there wasn't one on the other concerts I went to this year. I would have preferred another half hour of Lizz and her band.

1 comment:

  1. Frank., so glad you liked her concert. You sound like you really enjoyed yourself that Saturday night. Good for you.Hope you have more concerts like this in the future.