Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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The Soul immigrants: Boisdale, Canary Wharf, London 23/07/11

The Soul Immigrants @Boisdale 23/07/11
The Soul Immigrants @Boisdale 23/07/11 The Soul Immigrants @Boisdale 23/07/11 The Soul Immigrants @Boisdale 23/07/11

It was hight time B&S went to check out Canary Wharf's new music venue, Boisdale in the heart of Cabot Square. We'd heard a lot of good stuff about this ambitious place (Jools Holland is the patron) So was the fuss worth it? In a nutshell yes!

It's a very sumptuous design with scottish tartan and classic jazz photographs everywhere. Tonight was funk & soul evening with The Soul Immigrants, who flushed with success from their recent Jazz Cafe outing, were eager to maintain their high voltage brand of funk and win some new fans

The band did not disappoint either. The superb PA system and sound engineer Mr "T" ensured us all with a great night's entertainment. Frontman and Leader Emrys Baird was on top form goading the audience into full frontal participation and got the party into full swing mode pretty much from the off! He's savvy enough to know if people are spending a pretty penny,they want a show and The Soul Immigrants rootsy, soulful grooves were just the ticket needed for a a full house on a saturday night.

Mixing original material with choice covers seemed to be a winning combination and Eddie Harris' Jazz Funk classic got a super turbo charged treatment. On Horns "Lady" Dee Byrne ( who plays with the excellent Xantone Blacq) shone throughout on her trusty alto sax as did Boisdales regular Rowan Porteous on stinging trumpet.

It was also a touching moment when Emrys called over guest guitarist Robin Banerjee to discuss his happy memories of working with Amy Winehouse (he'd played with her for several years). Robin spoke from the heart (this being this being the very day she died) when he said "Amy always had time for people and even if she was in a crowded room she'd always make the point of coming over and saying hello..." It was also a highlight when the two of them did 'Love Is A losing Game' which was received with rapturous applause. A moving eulogy tastefully done R.I.P Amy!

Getting the funk night back on track, next up was, 'Immune To Love.' A Prince type influenced original featuring Al Gibson's hot Slap bass and some sharp horn stabs and a blistering rock solo from Banerjee, who mesmerised the place with his dexterity and inventiveness. This in turn seemed to up the ante and Baird pitched in totally inspired by what he's heard and turned out some bluesy funk licks that screamed out to the back of this long bar and back again in some kind of sonic loop.

'Jess' a lovely Afro Cuban instrumental dedicated to his girlfriend (Baird was rather coy about this as he confessed to the audience he hadn't told her he'd done a tune for her!) was another highlight. Drummer David Bouet shone on this belter, propulsive as ever and bang in the pocket! And their latin version of Clapton's layla had the whole place singing along. Baird roaming the room with cowbell looking for volunteers to bang it was hilarious. Nice touch!

Canary Wharf has got the icing on the cake here. You can eat or just go for a drink with music seven nights a week, there's something for everybody. Great to see a new venue that caters for a broad spectrum of artists to suit all tastes. Go and take a cheeky peek!

Photos by Tim Smith
Words Leo Isaac

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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