Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Southend Jazz Funk Ft.The Soul Immigrants & Anita Carmichael

Funk1 Funk3 Funk2 Funk4

Good to finally get out and see some live music after months of
being deprived of it. It's been weird not enjoying the company of people and watching good musicians do the thing they love best.The Park Inn Radisson Hotel braved the oppressive climate and along with Saxology Records/ Ents put on a great night of funk and soul kicking off with jazz doyenne Anita Carmichael who is making something of a comeback. Her pleasing vocal style has something of the Ricky Lee Jones about it and her powerful and strident alto sax reminds me of a cross between David Sanborn and Maceo Parker,the funky brilliance of 'Move It' certainly has that JB vibe to it and 'Lipstick On My Reed' shows off her deftly penned songs.Joined by backing vocalist Katherine Downham to flesh her out with some choice harmonies it was a spirited performance that set the night alight and led the way for the melodic funkateers that followed

Fellow scribe here at B&S and bandleader, Emrys Baird was up next with the Soul Immigrants who wasted no time getting their groove on as the band launched into a cheeky rendition of 'Drinking' by Laneus (incidently a great track on the new Craig Charles killer compilation which is reviewed here!) followed by a surging version of 'Baby Rattle Snake' by gifted guitarist Gabor Zsabo (count Santana as one of his biggest fans) Baird lets rip with wild abandon and guitar histrionics followed by some Bootsy Godzilla type bass soloing.The band have hit the ground running before they ease of into the silky gospel soul of a tune called 'Maker Heights' the 'Son Of A Preacherman' quote doesn't get lost in transition either,here is a band who loves to put musical quotes in perhaps the most outrageous thing of the night was when they launched into 'Baby Shark'! The look on the mums' faces were hysterical even some of them did the shark wave moves! I guess a little comedy is central to these surreal times and Baird certainly provides it.

Tracks from their recent album sounded super sharp too,the Curtis Mayfield inspired 'Back From The Brink' which has received great support from Robert Elms and Craig Charles recently was a standout moment of the evening.It was interesting to see as the band relaxed into their funky stride a sense of normality returned amongst masked waitresses and general all round tension due to the new restrictions and 10pm curfew. Let's hope more gigs start to happen as it's been a big hole in many people's lives but these guys and girls were determined to fly the flag of live music which has been sorely missed.


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