Tributes to Joni sung with warmth and feeling
JONI Mitchell's songs are already part of the repertoire of jazz singers as different as Ian Shaw, Diana Krall and Honor Heffernan. Last Sunday night in JJ Smyth's, Dublin, Edel Meade paid her own tribute to the Canadian songwriter.
A new voice on the Dublin scene, Edel has tremendous potential. For the first five songs she was backed only by Hugh Buckley (guitar) and Cian Boylan (piano). The piano was too loud at first, but the singer got into her stride by the third number, Chelsea Morning. She brought warmth, freshness and good timing to this and the next two songs, Woodstock and Big Yellow Taxi. These were followed by a slow-paced, rather uneven Both Sides Now.
Peter Erdei and Dominic Mullan then joined in on bass and drums -- both fine players, but the quartet almost swamped Edel, especially annoying when it came to witty songs like Be Cool and Twisted. An exception was Blue Motel Room which had a subtle guitar-led backing, setting off the beauty of her voice and the clarity of her diction. It would be good with guitar alone.
She varied the programme with tunes by Wayne Shorter and Charles Mingus. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Mingus's heartfelt tribute to Lester Young, was a highlight, sung with feeling and flexibility. The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines combined Mingus's music with lyrics by Joni Mitchell.
Edel Meade has what it takes. Remember the name -- you'll be hearing it again.
• Greg Lloyd (piano) launches a new CD at the Project Arts in Dublin next Thursday, with Kevin Brady (drums), Dave Redmond (bass) and Cuban Frailan Moran (percussion).