REVIEW: Joanna Eden – Embraceable Ella at Fleet Jazz

Joanna Eden. Photo courtesy of
Aldershot, Fleet and Farnham Camera Club (AFFCC ).


Joanna Eden – Embraceable Ella
(Fleet Jazz, Harlington Centre, Fleet, 17 January 2017, by Vic Cracknell)


This was a fitting tribute to singer Ella Fitzgerald whose 100th birthday falls on April 25th this year,  with vocalist Joanna Eden putting her own vocal stamp on many Ella classics. Joanna launched her “labour of love” show at the London Jazz Festival last year. She describes Ella as “a nice warm hug of a singer” and her own performance had the same natural warmth and intensity. The evening kicked off in style with Get Happy followed by A-Tisket A-Tasket, Ella’s first hit from 1938, and originally a nursery rhyme. Classics from the Great American Songbook came thick and fast including Rodgers and Hart’s Manhattan, Gershwin’s S’Wonderful, Sweet Georgia Brown, Let’s Do It, Midnight Sun, and British composer Ray Noble’s The Very Thought Of You. There were some light moments in Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off and a Brazilian touch on Jobim’s Desafinado.

Superb accompaniment came from Chris Ingham on piano, Marianne Windham on bass, George Double on drums and Steve Waterman on trumpet. The arrangements were interesting and swinging, and each musician got a chance to shine. They inventively turned Moonlight In Vermont, known to be a song about the cold weather, into a sunny bossa nova.

Joanna provided interesting and humorous anecdotes between songs including one about how Cole Porter wrote the song Miss Otis Regrets as a result of overhearing a waiter in a restaurant. Overall what was pleasing was this was not a tribute-act copy of Ella Fitzgerald, it was an individual interpretation which also allowed Joanna to effortlessly scat when she so wished, as on the closing number, Mack the Knife.

The full house clamoured for an encore to which Joanna fittingly responded with the enduring Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye accompanied by just piano. Well done to Fleet Jazz for putting on the sort of show one might otherwise have to travel to the heart of London to find.

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