She’s Back!! ... Hotter than ever in her 'cool' sort of way

Halton Arts Review
August 2007
Kamara Hennessey

Once again, jazz lovers were treated to a return of Adi Braun in the Brott Summer Festival "Hot Jazz with..." concert laid out in the cabaret style seating arrangement at The Studio of Hamilton Place. Following Mary Pat Elliot's (the festival's Community Relations & Outreach person) audience appeal to attend the four final concerts left in the festival, MP Chris Charlton was called on stage. Greetings on behalf of her colleagues at City Hall were dutifully stated, and a feeling of pride was heartily expressed for a city that "...keeps the music playing" to culturally enrich and enhance the health of the community, through its support of the BSMF in the two decades since inception.

The Chris Donnelly Trio - Chris Donnelly, piano, John Maharaj, bass, and Frank Botos, drums - took their respective positions on the stage for Ms. Braun's striking entrance. Attired in a colorful form fitting 'slinky' gown that made a statement that the audience was in for an evening of feeling the heat to the rhythm and beat of her vocal rendition of some timeless favorites. To top the fashion statement off, the large printed font of "The Queen" strategically placed at waistline sometimes undulated with her diaphramatic breathing as she soulfully and scattingly belts out her numbers in her chosen vocal ranges to accommodate the mood. At time I could not help thinking how those two words in motion regally speak the message "I'm your 'monarch' for the evening; therefore, I rule this stage at the moment. So pay attention oh ye royal and loyal subjects".

Braun opened her concert presentation with the timeless Richard Rogers often-performed cabaret number "Lady Is a Tramp". In numbers like "Love Me or Leave Me"; Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad and that Ain't Good"; & "Besame Mucho" - Maharaj got the opportunity to take 'center stage' to show his instrumental jazz skills setting up some steady rhythmic impetus and melodic contrast in solo sections against Adi's vocal lines.

Chris Donnelly also had his solo moments as he revealed some nimble finger works during 'improv' sections of triplet figures, arpeggiated chords, along with subtle shadings of complimentary syncopated 'comping harmonies astride the bassist's rhythms, and steady beat of Frank Botos drumming techniques. These were evident in selections such as "Old Devil Moon"; "Sister" from the movie The Color Purple; Fats Waller's "Honey Suckle Rose"; "Witchcraft"" "Stormy Weather" It was a nice change of pace to listen to a couple of Braun's own original compositions. Her recent "Grace" has very poignant lyrics, and was sung from the very depths of her creative and expressive soul. I was also delighted that she chose to perform her other composition "Ocean Eyes". Once again I was moved by her passionate vocalization in the same way as she sang it at last years concert presentation. A few of us are still waiting for a recording of that piece to be available.

As she facetiously remarked at one point in promoting her CD's, "for $20 bucks you can take me home." Actually, for $40.00 bucks she was my traveling companion in a solo journey to Ottawa last year!