Financial Times – 5 May 2015
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham, UK — review
“Their performance was as stunning as it was fresh and further collaborations are, let’s hope, in the pipeline.”
The second half featured pianist Alexander Hawkins and vocalist Elaine Mitchener taking on the American songbook. Hawkins is a left-field jazz tyro who rarely works with singers, Mitchener a classically trained genre-crossing virtuoso. Both usually avoid the standard repertoire.
They opened with “You Thrill Me”, Mitchener pure-toned over Hawkins’ angular accompaniment and then abstracted “I Fall In Love too Easily” into stretched vowels, scratchy moans and piano thumps. “Lush Life” was superb, delivered straight, “Solitude” ached with loneliness and they ended on a hymn. Their performance was as stunning as it was fresh and further collaborations are, let’s hope, in the pipeline.