The 2010 Arts Festival was hard work for me – I reviewed loads of shows and copped grief almost every second day it seemed. The Jazz Police started a campaign to get me canned from reviewing jazz gigs – and it worked. I had to return tickets to Branford Marsalis (and was super fucked-off). It was getting ridiculous.
For this one – a tribute to Nina Simone, featuring four female jazz singers, we turned up to claim our tickets only to be told there were none. Then they scrounged for one and my wife had to find a taxi home, all dressed up and then on the couch playing Bejweled.
Anyway, this concert featured Nina’s long-time bandleader, it also featured her daughter – she goes by the name Simone. Simone was pretty fucking awful actually – but you can’t tell an arts festival audience of jewellery-rattlers that. (Trust me, I tried). Lizz Wright, I like. Patti Austin, too. But they were a bit cheesy on the night – the revelation (and thankfully there was one) was Dianne Reeves. She was captivating. Astonishing. Amazing. So, so good. It made the whole night (rather torturous, all up) worth it.