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Corinne Bailey Rae – Cheltenham Jazz Festival REVIEW

A cheer erupted from the big top as Corinne Bailey Rae came on stage, her step as bouncy as her hair. She looked elegant yet edgy with a velvet plum jumpsuit and a genuine grin on her face. She started with a new song, one of my favourites of the night, Been to the Moon. The 4 band members were excellent and did not lie in Corinne’s shadow, they worked togethear to bring out the best in each other and create an exhilarating set.

I then spent the next few songs, besides enjoying them, trying to figure out what kind of style she has. Is it jazz? is it funk? There was some heavier drumming parts, some soft acoustic-y parts. My pondering came to an end when she confessed to the audience that she doesn’t play under a genre; she simply plays music. With her new album coming out on 13th of May, I am intrigued to see what kind of tracks she puts out.

The set was a good balance of upbeat, down tempo, happy and sad songs, which kept the audience interested. The performance flowed as easily as her melodies with her kind voice narrating between songs and the notes being sung from behind a smile.

The one down side was that the gig was seated. I think if it was standing the audience would have relaxed more and got a bit more into it. They kept it to a conservative head bob and consistent foot tapping. Saying this, Corinne Bailey Rae had us all in the palm of her hand for the duration of her performance and could have had us doing pretty much anything, holding our breaths, dancing on the seats, you name it. She had such a presence in the room (tent) which she used to her advantage.

I am not going to pretend that before the gig I knew any songs other than her famous “Put your records on” and “Like a star” but since seeing her I have added many of them to my playlist and am thoroughly enjoying listening to them.

You know it’s a good night when you clap so hard at the end of the encore that you drop your pen.

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