20TH SEPT 2013
Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw is a classically trained jazz singer of an exceptional standard. Better known as Caro Emerald, she is also a sassy and fun performer who knows how to put on a show! Following her no 1 sophomore album The Shocking Miss Emerald, the Dutch jazz singer has been around the UK on a sell out tour.
Her début album Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor was a record breaker in Holland and a homage to the music of the Golden Age of Hollywood. This merging of old and new is something Caro does with ease and makes her show totally original. This 40s and 50s retro chic suits her personality and vaudevillian music style. Caro's unique blend of jazzy pop, fused with Latin and Parisian influences with the occasional nod to R & B thanks to DJ Kypski, is the freshest sound to appear in the mainstream for a long time.
Songs like That Man,Excuse My French andTangled Up(all on the set list) are gloriously swinging toe tappers and Caro's enthusiasm is infectious. It is clear from her interaction with the audience that she wants them to be part of the show and have a good time. This is indicated in her playful songs like Pack Up The Louie, Dr Wanna-Do, Coming Back As A Man and her latest single, the witty, Liquid Lunch, which she also performs tonight with a slightly different more up-tempo arrangement. This quirky song about the perils of a lunchtime binge is something that could only have come from the World of Caro Emerald. It is perhaps the perfect starting point for any one new to Caro's work as it combines all the elements that make this talented and vibrant singer so popular.
Caro demonstrates her formal training in what she calls her 'James Bond film audition piece'; the atmospheric I belong To You.Another nod to the retro, but this time modelled on the classic Bond song. She performs this with every bit as much passion as Shirley Bassey or Adele and really shows her strengths as a vocalist as does her final song of the night If You Go Away (Ne me quitte pas) which she sings in French and English.
She has a totally natural stage presence and a great rapport with her musicians. Words cannot begin to describe just how sublime her band are. The brass section, Special Request Horns are out of this world they have a great sound and really let rip with those horns! Ladies favourite and versatile guitarist, Wieger Hoogendorp plays everything from rockabilly to gypsy jazz with lightening precision. Lets not forget the keyboards, drums and bass who are on fire and never falter. It is not surprising that this band are some of the most (in)credible musicians of the Dutch jazz scene. Whilst they sound good on the record it is in a live arena that they really stand out away from the constraints of the studio.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Southend Cliffs Pavilion has one of the best sound and lighting set ups around. It may be a regional theatre but the sound and visuals far surpass some London venues. It is little wonder that this theatre attracts some big names!
The shocking Miss Emerald is far from shocking, in fact, she's sensational.