Soulful jazz singer Zena James brings catchy grooves and infectious energy to Notting Hill Unplugged. Inspired as much by 70’s soul as by the jazz greats, Zena’s had great reviews for her funky new take on popular and rare jazz gems and irresistible, low-down R&B sounds. Expect groovy arrangements of popular jazz standards and groove-laden self-penned originals.
“She’s very, very good live indeed. You’ll have a marvellous time!”
Bob Sinfield, Jazz FM
“Creative and compelling, she is an exceptional talent with solid musicianship and soulful unpretentiousness. Her album Captivated reminds us of the persistent appeal of the blues and gospel roots of jazz. Zena James was profiled in January JJ, where I sang the praises of her soulful unpretentiousness and solid musicianship. One may look for flaws here, but there are none, despite the exposed setting for the voice. The disc reminds us of the persistent appeal of the blues and gospel roots of jazz… Very few jazz followers could argue soundly with the outcome or James’s ever persuasive voice.”
Mark Gilbert, Editor, Jazz Journal
“Zena James launched Captivated last Sunday, and the whistles and whoops proved that she is steadily acqiring a fair number of fans for her brave leap into the soul-laden subtle groove end of the jazz spectrum. On stage she projects a warm,engaging personality,and an infectious sense of enjoyment in the work of her fellow musicians that is really captivating. No histrionics, just heartfelt emotion. Her choice of material was almost impeccable ,with Joe Sherman’s That Sunday, That Summer and Stevie Wonder’s I Can Only Be Me two of the most touching things that I have heard in months. Her treatment of Human Nature, fast becoming a crossover favourite was just gorgeous. Zena has been getting a good radio response to the new album and on this showing, thoroughly deserves it.”
Brian Blain, LondonJazz
“From the outset, she uses her lustrous tone and her especially rich, buttery lower register to engaging effect. An ambitiously programmed 12-track collection of originals, soul-pop classics and judiciously reworked standards. James really shines on sparkling intepretations of Stevie Wonder’s I Can Only Be Me, That Old Black Magic and Comes Love. It’s not only her ability to sustain the melodic line that particularly impresses, it’s also the wide-eyed clarity she brings to songs such as the slice of nostagia made famous by Nat King Cole, ‘That Sunday That Summer’.”
Peter Quinn, Jazzwise
“Listen out for rising jazz chanteuse Zena James, whose Derek Nash-produced second album Captivated is an alluring amalgam of jazz, pop, funk and soul that tips its hat to tradition, yet maintains a strong, zestful contemporary feel. Among several standouts, there’s a cool jazz deconstruction of Michael Jackson’s Human Nature.”
Charles Waring, Record Collector
“Captivated: an imaginative blend of soul-pop and standards. Zena’s relaxed style and clear vocalising unite flawlessly with the classy supporting cast…consummate playing.”
IMA nominated musician John Crawford was born in London of English/Spanish Parents. His father played Blues piano, and this is the first thing he learnt to play. His mother would introduce him to Latin music of all kinds, and he has gone on to perform at Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Getxo Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scotts, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the 606 club, and Royal Albert Hall amongst others. His 2012 release “Ulia River of Time” has been nominated in the USA by the Independent Music Awards for best album in the Jazz category.
Food and Drinks available all night.