Sarah Gillespie Quartet feat Gilad Atzmon
'The Life of Bessie Smith'
March 10th 2014, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho
8pm £15.00 To buy tickets go *here*
British-American singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie isn't just a powerful amalgam of influences including Bob Dylan and Tom Waits (with an occasional diversion into sounding like Edith Piaf in a bluegrass band), she's a socially sensitive performer who writes pungently telling lyrics and has the rare knack of making politics and music sound as if they belong together. She's the diametric opposite of the 21st-century hypercool jazz singer and she doesn't keep her emotions on the back burner.
In this respect, she has plenty in common with the founding heroine of blues and folk-rooted vocals over the past century, "Empress of the Blues" Bessie Smith. Smith was one of Sarah Gillespie's earliest models, and she's the subject of Gillespie's tribute show in the Jazz Interpretations series at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club on 10 March, with a specially-assembled quartet including pianist Kit Downes and surprise guests yet to be announced. Gillespie's realism, passionate energy, wry wit and insight into the personal and social challenges Smith faced in the 1920s and 30s make her an appropriate torch-bearer for the legendary singer's legacy.
"(Gillespie) mixes urban folk, jazz and vivid intimate lyrics you can imagine scrawled in lipstick on Beat Hotel bed linen." The Independent. ★★★★
Sarah Gillespie - guitar and vocals
Gilad Atzmon - accordion, clarinet and sax.
Kit Downes - piano
Ben Bastin - bass
Enzo Zirilli - drums
Emma Devine - vocals