The Johanna Graham Quartet Pizza Express Soho, London 25 May 2014 Seated under a photo of Kurt Elling's pearly whites, listening to the Johanna Graham quartet's first gig at Pizza Express in Soho was a pleasing and enjoyable experience. Jazz fans aren't that fond of hearing new vocalists sing live --on the whole, it's a mixed bag of painful and cringe worthy possibilities-- the weather, temperature, a miserable audience, variable health, dodgy band relations; all take their toll on the front voice of the band. Not so this evening, a touch of vocal nerves to ...read more
Say their names: Kate Bush, Lordes, Johanna Graham. There's a common thread between these women--a need for drama, designed lyrics and a refreshingly diminished thirst for quick-fix mass appeal, which makes them seem lacking in the lust-for-fame department. What do they have to prove to anyone? The lyrics they write and sing have lived-in depth, their tune arrangements are effortlessly catchy and they are artists whose musical voices are, and will probably remain, timeless; regardless the generation to which they feel they belong. Of course Kate Bush and Lordes aren't jazz singers, charting the rise to success of ...read more
Years back, there was a fascinating self-help book entitled The Road Less Traveled (Simon and Schuster, 1978) by psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck. The premise of that long-time #1 best-selling effort was simple: in Life sometimes making a riskier choice--where the unknown awaits--can be the most rewarding. Perhaps taking Peck's suggested advice, Don't Let Me Be Lonely by British vocalist Johanna Graham takes a right turn at a musical crossroads and, for the most part, the result is a musically satisfying journey. The recording offers up eleven interestingly presented selections wherein the vocalist--she from Cornwall-By the Sea--and her session ...read more
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