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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Beth Rowley, Jazz Pizza Express, Soho

Beth Rowley is a beauty: gorgeous figure and pretty face hiding behind enviously big blonde curly hair. She looked radiant when performing for two nights at the candlelit Pizza Express Jazz Club on Dean Street in Soho.

After securing our table downstairs in the jazz saloon we went upstairs to eat, the place was packed with keen fans. Beth Rowley, who herself mentioned many influences, has inspired me personally with my singing. I often sing her 'Nobody's Fault but Mine' with my little band, though our version is much more melancholic. It was lovely to hear Beth in her full glory singing it live, in fact she began the whole evening with it... the rendition was vibrant, upbeat and with the electric bass and drums, charismatically soulful.

The evening was split into two sets, for which she wore different, equally exquisite red frocks, something she mentioned was unusually showbiz for her. Accompanied by a musically sharp but small band (of guitar, bass and drums) the sound was perfectly balanced and projected well in the venue. Beth performed an eclectic mix of songs - some tracks from her new album (released next year) and other well known tunes by her favourite artists, but adapted uniquely to suit her style. There is no way to pigeonhole this singer, her music shows the influence of soul, blues, jazz, Americana and folk. I particularly love her adaptations of negro spirituals; she embellishes the melodies freely and artistically while injecting real passion into the words.

Speaking onstage, she was hesistant and timid and reminded me of a little girl, glancing over at her manager and father for reassurance (she introduced them both to us). At times it was almost awkward to behold and I was surprised considering her successful status. In the second half she loosened up and became more personable, communicating more openly with her eager audience, it was all more relaxed.

Pizza and Jazz is an undeniably good combination; Beth Rowley makes it even better. Already recognised as a jazz singer on the rise, I believe there is still a lot more to discover from this talented girl.
Visit Beth Rowley's website here.

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