Joan Minor at Cercle Suedois

Patricia Myers By

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Joan Minor Quartet
Cercle Suedois
Paris, France
May 13, 2015

The jazz scene in Paris thrives with a wide mixture of venues, from small cafes to large halls to more sophisticated settings. Among the latter is Cercle Suedois, the Swedish community's swanky meeting place that schedule weekly jazz concerts.

American vocalist Joan Minor, performing with a European rhythm section, filled the elegant main salon with her expressive sound in a wide-ranging repertoire. She's a class act with personal warmth and exceptional audience rapport.

Minor opened the evening with "I Love Being Here with You" and then a second upbeat song, "Them There Eyes" that was reminiscent of Betty Carter. Her next choice was that singer's "Don't Waste Your Time" that she opened with a stylish scat segment, followed by a remarkable solo by pianist Michael Dravigny.

Minor is known for straight-ahead jazz that always swings, but also adept on more modern charts, such as Esperanza Spalding's "I Know You Know." She delivered a bit of pop with Bill Withers' "Use Me Up," and moved info funk territory with Taj Mahal's "Further on Down the Road," for which bassist Christian Duperray switched to electric and drummer Laurent Series accelerated his percussive style.

Minor chose a samba rhythm for "This Masquerade," then changed the pace once again with the witty "Better Than Anything." Her treatment of "Love for Sale" was pure jazz pleasure, and her supple style was a perfect fit for pop songs like Carole King's "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" and the Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway hit, "Feel Like Makin' Love."

Minor performed in late May for the Grande Soirée Gospel & Negro Spiritual concert at L'Eglise Saint Sulpice as part of the Festival Jazz a Saint Germain des Pres in Paris. She will appear with her trio July 6-10 in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, and then tour France for 10 days in late July with "The Ladies Voices: Chants Traditionnels Gospel."
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