The Perth Concert Hall was the perfect place to host Jazzmeia Horn, its vibrant stage matching her enigmatic presence and fantastic outfit. The Grammy nominated, Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition-winning superstar came all the way from NYC for a one night performance at the Perth Festival. She managed to make the energy of the huge concert hall feel like a small and intimate jazz club somewhere in Brooklyn. The lighting and sound quality were an extremely high standard that matched this world class act.
Horn (yes, that is her real name!) grew up singing gospel, another energy she brought to her show. Her presence was bold, moving and spiritual. Backed by a stellar band of jazz greats, Horn showed her impressive (and at times flabbergasting) vocal range with a comical flare – almost poking fun at her ability to scat and sing in every which way.
An honourable mention to her drummer Henry Conerway III who at times stole the show – albeit briefly – with his impressively quick and onbeat drumming. The rest of the band, Victor Gould on piano and Barry Stephenson on bass, were also outstanding. They all seemed humble and keen to get lost in each of the songs despite the huge crowd, which I am sure they are used to. The placement of the piano was interesting, with the pianist back to the audience, but the overall stage design was visually pleasing.
All four musicians knew the balance between strong and fast, and toning the levels back, with the quiet down times of the 90 minute performance, at times, more impressive. The show was also an impressive length, with audience getting what they paid for plus an encore.
Horn seemed dedicated to serving her audience, full of gratitude. She acknowledged that the show can sometimes be a bit too relaxing – saying “You might fall asleep, some people do. That’s ok. Music does that. It’s healing.”
Her standout song was all about loving yourself which she played at the end of the set. Horn was adamant that music was as important as ever in our crazy world, used to spread love and heal.