Sup­per crowd kills the groove at New York jazz clubs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

SOME THINGS, sadly, re­main the same in the Big Ap­ple. A few years ago, I went to see the great Lit­tle Jimmy Scott play a show in New York. The singer with the voice of a fallen an­gel was per­form­ing with his band in a small room and it should have been quite a night. If you’ve heard the man who Bil­lie Hol­i­day re­garded as her favourite singer em­broi­der songs with that hurt, heart­break­ing, emo­tional voice of his, you’ll know what I mean. When Jimmy sings, you hear vi­o­lins. But Scott was play­ing in a New York jazz club and in a New York jazz club, the mu­si­cians are per­form­ing in front of an au­di­ence who are eat­ing their din­ner. For this au­di­ence, it’s what on their plates rather than who’s on­stage which is the most press­ing con­cern of the evening.

Shows in clubs like these well as putting his own groove on to higher ground with Soul Drums. On gui­tar is Grant Green Jr, a player with a fine fam­ily pedi­gree and a laid­back style of his own.

Put them in a soul-less joint on Broad­way, play­ing the first of the night’s two sets in front of an au­di­ence chew­ing steaks and shrimp, and the show just never lifts off. The mu­si­cians try their damnedest not to look dis­heart­ened, but the grooves just aren’t there. Green Jr sings and it’s noth­ing to write home about. house, disco, rare groove, reg­gae and many more tunes with soul. Peo­ple dance, hit the bowl­ing al­leys and watch some amaz­ing videos from the back pages of the Soul Train TV show.

Soul Train was the show the late Don Cor­nelius founded in Chicago in 1970 and which was sub­se­quently broad­cast all over the United States un­til 2006.

Aside from in­tro­duc­ing Amer­i­can TV au­di­ences to a host of r’n’b, soul and hip-hop acts via some mem­o­rable per­for­mances (many now re-upped for

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