On March 7th, 2017, the Grammy Nominated singer/songwriter BETH HART performed a very special, intimate “Front and Center” concert at NYC’s Iridium Jazz Club, which featured songs from her latest album Fire on the Floor. Hart first rose to fame in 1999 with single: “L.A. Song (Out of This Town)”
Now, thirteen years after the release of her incredibly successful live release, “Live at Paradiso” Hart is releasing the live DVD/CD of the “Front and Center” concert at the Iridium. Out April 13th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. The performance is also featured on Season 8 of the critically acclaimed concert series.
LIVE FROM NEW YORK – FRONT AND CENTER will be released as a 2-disc DVD/CD set, mixed in 5.1 and stereo, featuring never before seen bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Beth.
We had a listen —
The warming emotion of “No Place Like Home” — performed sat at her piano, shows the naked beauty of a loving soul. The bitter-sweet majesty of the effortless vibrato on this touching hymn gives the whole piece tension and a touch of nightshade sadness. This is dignified and luxurious.
“Baddest Blues” is another seated piano-piece. And as close as you’ll ever hear live, now, to the starkly fateful, skeletal beauty of “Back to the Black” era Winehouse circa 2006. On this number you can almost imagine fingers smeared with nicotine, dry vomit and sweaty pumps.
You can certainly hear the slurring, intoxicated purr. And experience the sensual confidence and magnificent moodiness of an artist who does not know quite yet how vulnerable she really is, and yet who delights in putting her soul on a plate for everyone to devour.
Beth Hart sways precariously on a tiny stool to bring the audience the plaintive wail at the start of “Tell Her You Belong To Me.” Quite soon, the beat-upon-the-breast rhythm is established in this enfeebled beast-of-a-song. And yet the delivery is not completely painful, nor is it pitted and tortured by unrequitted love… Because, at heart, it’s a triumphant paean to hope over misery. You just know that Hart will grab back her love. No matter what it takes…
And she tinkles-out some great backroom jingles on her candleit honkytonk piano for “Jazz Man.” This is a powerful and zappy, flapper-jazz piece. It evokes memories of Ethel Waters, a gumbo of mandibular rhythms and ragtime joy.
On this superb collection there’s not a canticle or evensong that doesn’t burn and hurt. There is not a track that does not make you want to sob inside. And that’s what the soulful blues are all about, yes?
Her voice is a mixture of emotional fearfulness and full-on husky gravitas. And when she lacks self-assurance she’s at her enrapturing best. And when she asks herself deeply personal questions and hesitates before supplying the audience with an answer, the childlike daintiness and the perils of her misunderstanding are at their most conspicuous. While, all along, the captivating power of her innermost grief and anger, especially when she’s torn by despair and upheaval, reveal what a high price she’s had to pay for that unquestionable vocal ability.
An extraordinary collection of live & heartfelt blues. A masterpiece… 5 stars.
Words: @neilmach 2018 ©
Images: © 2018 Copyright Front And Center. All Rights reserved.
LIVE FROM NEW YORK – FRONT AND CENTER will be released as a 2-disc DVD/CD set, mixed in 5.1 and stereo.
It features never before seen bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Beth