Monday, June 04, 2007

She's A Reggaebaby

Two thirty minute sets and thirteen songs provided a good crowd at the Ipanema Bar in Birmingham last night with an impressive showcase for the 2nd city’s very own Reggaebaby, Jean Mclean. Lovers rock was the flavour of the evening as Jean, backed by the Memphis band and guests, opened up with the title track of her self-produced album, I’m A Reggaebaby. With her second album currently being penned, her six-song opening set was taken from her debut cut with So In Love, Baby You, Stand Up, Boyfriend and Longtime giving Jean and the band the chance to demonstrate her vocal prowess and their accomplished musicianship. Providing the harmonies to Jean’s strong and versatile lead vocals were her sisters, Bev and Jacky, resplendent in matching red outfits, with Alvin Davis (sax) and Errol ‘Spider’ Smith (trombone) adding their brass excellence, usually seen with the band Gabbidon. Andre Bassing sat in on keyboards with the rhythm section of the Memphis band, John Irish - guitar, Anthony Caines - bass, Victor Gift – drums, completing the line-up.

Jean kicked off the second set, accompanied by Bassing and Davis, with Endless Love, and was joined by top crooner Peter Spence for a delicious duet. Rejoined by the band, she continued with Don’t Let Me Down, Killing Me Softly, two tributes to Dennis Brown in How Could I Leave and Things In Life, before her own Goodbye, one of my favourites, and to close, Jumping. Jean Mclean’s live performances are too few in my opinion - her previous outing being at the Ipanema last November - she’s an excellent singer and deserves much wider recognition of her talents. I sincerely hope it happens soon. The Ipanema promotion by John Morris' Nurvrax Art Productions, began with tunes by dj Dexter Dex, an mc set by Sherlock and a couple of warm-up numbers by Memphis brothers Earl and Keith Robinson with their band. The audience was a who's who of Birmingham musical talent and I spied Basil Gabbidon, Shaz Akira, Norma Lewis and Indigo present, with Dennis Seaton on the mixing desk.
Links: Jean Mclean, Peter Spence

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