When I heard that songstress Melanie Scholtz was giving a performance at On Broadway entitled ‘Carols Go Jazz’ my initial reaction was one of excitement sprinkled with apprehension. Being that time of the year where Christmas carols find their way onto every radio station, into every mall, every public bathroom, I thought it would be best to just avoid another outlet for these songs. But I hadn’t heard Melanie’s golden voice in a while so (thankfully) I decided to check the show out.
From the first song right to the last, the tightness of the four-piece band – vocals, piano, bass and drums – created a warm atmosphere where the audience could relax (with a glass of wine) and enjoy Christmas carols in a non-conventional but captivating way. Far too many jazz singers try to imitate the greats like Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, or they take to mediocre scat singing. Scholtz’s voice and technique make her stand out as a unique and professional talent.
Her renditions of Noel, O Holy Night, and We Three Kings gave me goosebumps especially when the pieces climaxed with strong crescendos carried effortlessly by her powerful voice. But the evening was not just dedicated to carols. Scholtz added a few big jazz standards as well as some of her own compositions like the charming Bumble Bee.
Music aside, Scholtz is a captivating performer with great audience rapport.She even managed to persuade us into singing the bass lines of In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning with gusto. So, irrespective of what repertoire she’s performing, I’d say that to catch Melanie Scholtz live is something special. Jazz lovers – keep an eye out for this lady.