Silencing the oh-so-chatty Cargo crowd José James & Andreya Triana sang spectacularly for this Brownswood Sessions special with Gilles Peterson and Karen P expertly providing the DJ interludes
Andreya Triana began with her version of Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’. Sampling and looping herself using her “magic green box” she sang delightful harmonies over the well-known chorus. She continued to impress with ‘Angel Lady’ (full version forthcoming on Aaron Jerome‘s album on BBE!), Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Tea Leaf Dancers’ which sounding amazing — totally reliant on Andreya’s vocals without Flying Lotus’ beats. Spotting José James standing in the smiling crowd, Andreya invited him on stage for a seemingly impromptu take on ‘Summertime’. José beatboxed, Andreya looped it, then the pair played over the top. Captivating and aurally outstanding it was everything you could hope for from two soon-to-be-enormous artists.
José James and band took the stage with Nikki Yeoh on keyboard and rhodes, Cheryl Alleyne drumming, Level Neville on double bass, Michael Campagna on tenor sax and Simbad on alto sax. A wonderful set ensued mixing smoky ballads with jazz dance bangers. José’s own compositions’ ‘The Dreamer’, ‘Red People’ and ‘Desire’ sounded great, as did the mini John Coltane tribute — some lucky people in attendance can listen back to ‘Equinox’ on 10″ vinyl, a freebie given out to the early birds. My highlight of José’s set was the rendition of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ‘Spirits Up Above’ a monster of a song performed magnificently with José bellowing out the chorus “Can you feel, the spirit up above!”. Simbad showed his sax skills notably in his second solo of ‘Spirits Up Above’, I know Simbad for his DJ-ing and music on Raw Fusion, good to see he is a fine saxophonist as well.
José James is a monumental singer and an astute, charismatic performer.
Brownswood labelmate Ben Westbeech was invited on for a track and also joined José on the band’s encore, Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’. José was composed enough to crack witty freestyle verses about the $-£ exchange rate asking “What’s going on in Bristol” to Ben Westbeech whose response which included “We’ve got the River Avon” could not compare. José James is a monumental singer and an astute, charismatic performer. His lyrics are sharp, plus he has a fantastic knack of pitching his voice just right for each note, working well with a band.
Gilles Peterson concluded the evening, firing out the popular Pilooski edit of Frankie Valli’s ‘Beggin’, the supreme jazz boogie of Angela Bofil’s ‘People Make The World Go Round’, The Flirtations ‘Nothing But A Heartache’ and closing with Darondo’s ‘Didn’t I’. Karen P’s earlier sets were also excellent, with highlights of mine being Kenny Dope’s remix of Bobby Hutcherson’s ‘La Malanga’, one of my all time favourite tunes The RH Factor’s ‘Poetry’, plus a fantastic Nicola Conte remix of Mark Murphy’s ‘Stolen Moments’. The excellence of the evening was a reminder how the London scene has missed the Glenfiddich Independent Mix nights run by Gilles & Karen P, hopefully a regular happening of that ilk will emerge, any sponsors lurking?
‘Level’ Neville Malcolm
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
The Flirtations ‘Nothing But A Heartache’ video
Thanks to Liam Dystant for the photo