No doubt an extremely charismatic and talented musician, Jesse Gordon’s performance was successful in combining stellar jazz music, social commentary and humour in one show.
Gordon was tantalisingly charming in her fitted dress and wavy flapper-style hair, and Chris Foster on the piano was dressed to the nines in a smart tux.
It was easy for the audience to feel transported back to the 1920’s in a dimly lit bar in a hidden corner of New Orleans.
Gordon eloquently set the scene for each song with a quick explanation about its origins and potential meanings, with a bit of feminist commentary peppered in throughout.
The song list covered some classics such as B.B King and Nina Simone, but also incorporated a few remixed country and ragtime ditties.
One thing they all had in common was a consistent alcohol-driven theme, so the show would have been more rightfully named Boozy Jazz Cocktail Hour.
Relatable and lighthearted quips about alcohol’s role in social lubrication and escapism were riddled throughout the performance.
Though not typically associated with jazz music, the subtle island vibes from Gordon’s ukele actually worked very well. On the piano, Foster wasn’t afraid to throw in a few freestyle riffs that are so characteristic of the jazz genre.
I was amazed at how Gordon’s voice could remain so incredibly rounded, soulful and complex even while she was sitting down.
Often singing most verses with a seductive smile on her face, Gordon’s style was undeniably flirtatious and sultry, but sometimes as sorrowful as a Joni Mitchell song.
Like many others in the audience, I sat for the entire hour transfixed on the captivating performance before me, unable to look away or stop listening. When it ended I found myself wanting to float a bit longer in the depths of Gordon’s rich and hauntingly beautiful voice.