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Lisa Marini at The Jazz Café

Album Launch, 8th November 2016

Like any self-respecting fan of funky music, I often like to get down and boogie as close to the stage as possible. However, on this occasion I hadn’t had dinner yet and, having heard a little preview of Marini’s stuff, I wanted to get a good view of her and her band and have a good listen, so I sat in the gallery. I hadn’t been to the Jazz Cafe since its refurb, and was totally in love with the new dimly lit, art deco look. Don’t listen to the haters that will tell you that the shabby chic was better. They fear change.

ANYWAY. The support act were this fantastic gypsy jazz duo called The Gypsy Dynamite, accompanied by reputable double bassist Jonny Gee. They played a set of lively numbers, including charming renditions of ‘L-O-V-E’ and ‘I Wanna Be Like You’, which showcased the line-up’s top-quality musicianship and rhythmic sensibility.

Lisa Marini’s style has been described as ‘dark folk’, and likened to Erykah Badu and Joni Mitchell. Her music certainly has a folky, acoustic feel, but her soulful voice and heavy double bass/percussive accompaniment hint at jazzier styles, which results in a mixture not dissimilar to that of Bert Jansch’s Pentangle. The songs are personal and written with an emotional sensibility that was reflected by Marini’s sincere delivery on stage, and together with her band performed with a jammed, free feel that did the songs justice whilst maintaining their intricate riffs and rhythms. I was particularly drawn to ‘That Song’, where Lisa is accompanied tastefully by Jack Tustin, her double bassist - this unusual pairing had a hauntingly ethereal quality that left the audience and myself in awe. The other songs were graced by the virtuoso playing of Nadine Galea (violin), Hugh MacDermott (keys) and Arthur Newell (drums).

All of this can be heard on the album, Summoned by a Foolish Magpie, some of which was recorded live, and features most of the musicians that performed with Marini that night - truly unique players that are well worth a listen. Every song is unique, resulting in an eclectic mix of styles and emotions, delivered by the finesse of Lisa and her band. Hip hop lovers should check out ‘Bless The Sun, Bless The Moon’, while if you are in the mood for tribal percussion and sexy vocals head to the title track. Find her online for her earlier stuff and updates on where to get her new album (which is, by the way, beautifully illustrated by the lady herself). Marini is a natural storyteller and songwriter and the fluidity of her and her band’s playing is an indication of true creativity and talent - this is most certainly one to watch.

My smudged but signed copy of Summoned by a Foolish Magpie

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