In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in jazz with people who are predominantly into rock and pop music. As I fall into this category myself, I was really enthused to hear that a former rock singer in the shape of Boston, USA-based vocalist Amanda Carr was performing with the Graeme Norris band. Born in Boston, she grew up listening to, and befriending, some formidable American rock bands, such as Aerosmith.
Amanda had previously contacted my Dad – Alan Western – through the Brisbane Big Band’s MySpace webpage about a year ago. The two of them had communicated on Skype and arranged performances for her at the Brisbane Jazz Club during her first visit to Australia this month when she played several other jazz gigs. Her hectic schedule on this trip took her straight to the Noosa Jazz Festival where sheshared the honour of being ‘Queen of the Festival’ with Allan Brown as the ‘King’.
Her performances at the BJC worked a treat for the audience, both with the Brisbane Big Band, and the Graeme Norris Quartet, demonstrating her very smoky, well-worn voice full of the life lessons she’s learned from her career as a rock musician before defecting to the jazz scene in 1995. She covered songs like Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Old Devil Moon (from the musical ‘Finian’s Rainbow’), as well as one of the best versions I’ve heard of the Sergio Mendes classic Mas Que Nada with superb backing from Graeme, Paul Hudson, Helen Russell and Damian Sim..
You can listen to samples of her music on her website at http://www.amandacarr.com and she has CDs for sale, as well as a Facebook fan page. Definitely somebody whom I’d be pleased to see again when she decides to pay a return trip to Australia.