The Mahogany Room on Buitenkant Street is hailed for bringing jazz back to the Mother City. Based on the model of the world’s greatest jazz clubs this intimate venue has become so popular since its opening in December last year that it is almost impossible to find a seat if you do not book in advance. I can only join in the laudable chorus about this new venue on the Cape Town scene: It is small, intimate, special and real…a place where jazz lovers feel loved again.
Even more real than the musty smell and welcoming beckon of this jazzy spot was the perrmance of ‘Nicky Schrire plus 4’. London-born, South African-raised and New York City-based Schrire completed her Masters degree at the renowned Manhattan School of Music and has been singing up a storm ever since. She is currently on a whirlwind tour inSouth Africauntil the end of March and it is resoundingly worth the effort to attend one of her performances.
At The Mahogany Room it is really all about the music and with talented artists like Schrire accompanied Kevin Gibson (drums), Shane Cooper (bass), Bokani Dyer (piano) and Darren English (trumpet) there is little need for anything more than a bar, a stage and a place to sit. Schrire has a very warm and sincere stage personality and she quickly enthrals the audience with her antics. She literally made us feel at home as the instrumentalists worked their magic with brilliant playing, almost stealing the show.
Schrire’s voice is sultry and unexpected, but it is her imaginative compositions and arrangements that really impress, leaving one yearning for more. Her fresh take on old favourites was outstanding and the audience especially enjoyed her arrangement of Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’. It seems as though there is no genre that this young vocalist/composer/arranger cannot mould into her distinctive style and she even had us bobbing our heads and tapping our feet to ‘Happy Talk’ a show tune from the 1949s musical South Pacific.
Schrire’s debut album Freedom Flight was released at the beginning of this year. Buy, listen, enjoy. This is just the beginning of a bright young star in the making.
Andra le Roux-Kemp
Nicky Schrire plus 4 performed at The Mahogany Room on 16 & 17 March 2012. Visit her website at www.nickyschrire.com for more information on her March performances in South Africa.