YolanDa Brown is the London born saxophonist who won the Best Jazz MOBO in 2008 and has also been awarded a UMA (Urban Music Award). Her unique style of music has taken her all over the world including the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival in Jamaica, The Frankfurt Auto Show and the IslaVvelta Festival in Spain. She is currently on a UK tour supporting Hot Chocolate front man Errol Brown, but took some time out to play the Jazz Cafe for a special Valentines concert.
The 2 hour session included a mix of original tracks and well known covers and the talented young artist was supported by a five piece band. However the band often remained cold and didn’t make much effort to connect with the audience apart from when YolanDa herself pulled them forward a few times to show off their skills. One such time was the ‘heritage routine’ where each band member was asked to play a tune that represented where they came from and we were treated to melodies from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Jamaica and Kentish Town. Her backing singers also got in on the act and each of the three vocalists performing a song. A particular favourite was Aaron’s rendition of Princes The Beautiful Ones, which really got you moving and the soprano range singer reached every note from here to Timbuktu.
YolanDa gave the passionate performance she has come to be famous for and the talented young musician’s love for music was clear to all. She remained happy and upbeat the whole evening and constantly moved about the stage dancing along to the beat while taking every opportunity to engage with the band and the audience. Her rendition of Bob Marley’s Is This Love was amazing and I really wanted her to play Robin Thick’s Lost Without You which she didn’t. Overall it was an enjoyable, though not an amazing night. This was partly due to the fact that the audience had to stand the whole evening when the point of good Jazz is that you sit back and enjoy it; being on your feet just made the evening feel longer than necessary.
YolanDa Brown – In the Mood for Love
@ The Jazz Cafe, Camden
Valentine’s Weekend – 14th& 15th February 2009
Reviewed By Karla Williams