REVIEW – ReVoice! Festival 2012

For lovers of vocal jazz, Georgia Mancio’s ReVoice! Festival sets the heart soaring and the pulse racing. Running over nine nights from 11-20 October, the third edition kicked off with singer of the moment, Gregory Porter. Newly signed to Universal France – 2012 has definitely been his annus mirabilis – Porter treated us to several cuts from Be Good.

The rich-bass baritone voice of Jamie Davis proved a revelation, and his trio of songs from the classic 1963 John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album was one of the year’s musical highlights.

Liane Carroll Night was always going to be a high spot and after a brilliant opening set with Georgia, Liane and her quartet delivered spellbinding interpretations of Tom Waits, Tania Maria and Noel Coward, all utterly transformed by her alchemical genius.

With their exquisite arrangements, gorgeous vocal harmonies and an ability to make the bar line disappear, the Becca Stevens Band stole a lot of hearts – I still have the chorus of the terrific ‘105’ playing in my head.

Exploring the repertoire of the great Nina Simone alongside their own compositions, Jhelisa Anderson and pianist Robert Mitchell detonated an amazingly powerful emotional charge, with stunning interpretations of ‘Four Women’ and ‘Mississipi Goddam’.

Performing songs from John Zorn’s Book of Angels, the a capella vocal quartet, Mycale, also enchanted with their rich mix of cantillation, spoken word, teasing counterpoint and dazzling harmonies.

The final two nights at the Union Chapel featured the amazing artistry of Raul Midón, plus the brilliant vocal/guitar duo, Tuck & Patti.

We also got to hear Georgia paired with some of the finest players on the UK scene including Laurence Cottle, John Parricelli and Jason Rebello. From the impressively fluid phrasing of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ to the heartbreaking intimacy of Milton Nascimento’s ‘Travessia’, her sense of lyrical sweep thrills at every turn.