Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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David McAlmont: The Jazz Cafe 16/11/08

David McAlmont: 'A Little Communication' - Jazz Cafe 16/11/08
David McAlmont: 'A Little Communication' - Jazz Cafe 16/11/08

Landing at the Jazz Café at part of the London Jazz festival for a much anticipated show. Fronting a delightfully chilled-out five piece band that provided a dreamy soul musical backdrop. Dressed to impress in an immaculate grey with white pin stripe suit that looked as it had come straight out of Saville Row, crisp shirt, and some impressive bling.

This was to be a special event as producer Tommy Dee bounded on stage at the beginning of the show to announce that in fact, it was the 10th anniversary showcase of one of McAlmont seminal works â the album A Little Communication. Released originally in 1998, the album has its roots in the lyrical soul sound that resurged in the mid-late nineties but which is also backed at certain moments by ambient trip-hop also prevalent at the time. The musical influence from Philly sound groups such as The Stylistics and The Delfonics can also be clearly heard.

The gig kicked off with an emotionally charged vocals on 'Lose my Faith' perfectly complemented with long dreamy synth chords. This was followed by a crisply executed title track as McCalmont proceeded to work through songs on the album largely in order. As he went along, he related anecdotes of how the songs came about in his own relaxed inimitable and open style. He amusingly related tales of alcohol fuelled days in the nineties Notting Hill; making reference to a relationship formed while staying in one of the areaâs pubs, shortly before singing 'Happy Hour' the song to which the tale relates.

In an introduction to the song 'Hangover,' he told us of why he had finally quit drinking because of his own worsening hangovers. Other gems included the rich laid back sounds of 'Honey' in which Davidâs high octave vocals shone through, and final song of the first part of the set 'After Youth,' which sounded in part like a lament and a contained suberb instrumental and vocal crescendos. He was generous with his stage as well, giving the spotlight as one point to his pianist Natasha Panas, who sang her own song 'Moth to a Flame' while he took a short break.

The second part of the show, essentially a five song encore saw a number guest performers take to the stage, culminating in a classic laid back jazz ballad interpretation of Elton Johnâs 'Sorry' with Jon Regan on piano and the climatic 'Diamonds Are Forever' with David Arnold. The full-on orchestral sound to this number provided a great finish to the charming Mr McAlmontâs set and sent the audience home very, very happy.
Words DARREN LEWIS

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