Elise LeGrow, the Canadian jazz and soul singer, began her European tour last night with an electric performance at the Jazz Cafe.
Performing songs from her latest album Playing Chess, a celebration of iconic songs from legendary soul label Chess, Ms. LeGrow appeared as demure and stunning as ever in a black and gold art-deco printed flapper dress along with her staple black bob. Not only were there hits from the album including Rescue Me, Going Back Where I Belong and Who Do You Love but also some of her own material to be released on her unannounced second album.
Elise LeGrow was supported by Paradisia, an organic pop trio made up of harp, piano and vocals. Their stunning three-part harmonies and floral sound made for a mellow start to the evening. The highlight of their half-an-hour set was clearly Dancing In The Dark, a Bruce Springsteen number that these girls have beautifully re-invented with soaring harp melodies and powerful yet refined vocals. You can listen to their debut album Sounds of Freedom now. Their next performance is in Monte Carlo supporting Bryan Ferry. This is a group that I’m sure won’t be filling support slots for much longer.
“soulful, smooth and has the capability to carry the emotion of the blues simultaneously.”
Ms LeGrow was backed by drums, bass and guitar which is a rarity considering the usual option to stick with piano, yet the rock-inflected accompaniment complimented LeGrow’s husky tones perfectly. Let’s be clear; this was a down the line performance. There were no extensive solos or vast new live arrangements. This was a gig designed to enable the audience to have a great time. They did. LeGrow got the somewhat distant audience moving with the unreleased Etta James track Can’t Shake It and then allowing us to bathe in the down tempo Sincerely. Another standout was found in her cover of You Never Can Tell, from the film Pulp Fiction. LeGrow’s voice is soulful, smooth and has the capability to carry the emotion of the blues simultaneously. Such a distinctive sound allows her to make these soul classics feel fresh and revived effortless.
Speaking to The 730 Review review after the gig, Ms LeGrow revealed that she was intact but feeling slightly under the weather – surprising considering she was on tip top form. She also stated that her next release is currently in pre-production and will feature only songs that she has written, but no date has been announced. In the meantime, Elise LeGrow continues her European tour in Germany this month.
Image: Warner Music Group