Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Soulful vocals and tight ensemble playing a joy

I often feel sorry for today’s young music fans, who — copying what they hear from the music media (who really should know better!) — refer to anything recorded by non-white performers as R&B.

If they had attended James Hunter’s gig on Saturday, they would have heard some genuine R&B performed to perfection by six white musicians.

Ahead of his first Australian tour next week, this great exponent not only of rhythm & blues, but also jazz, blues, soul and even reggae, played an intense hour of the genres with the authenticity of the early 60s R&B boom.

The late change of venue to the more intimate and apt Speakeasy only added to the true recreation of the atmospheric (if less smoke-filled) mood found in a music club of the era.

Backed by an impressive line-up of drums, upright bass, keyboards and dual saxophones, Hunter proved to be a force to be reckoned with on electric guitar.

We were treated to a set of vintage covers, original material and jazz standards, boasting tight ensemble musicianship, all held together by Hunter’s soulful vocals.

DAMIEN MURRAY

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