So it’s back to the Jazz Café for the first of a special three night residency with Mr Brian McKnight. My friends have been excited for weeks and stressing that this gig was one not to be missed. I have to admit that sometimes, with so many soul singers around, the odd one slips by and I did not know Brian McKnight so well. I did not know what to expect as I had not seen him before and sometimes that is the best way as I was very pleasantly rewarded with a great evening.
On the first song which was to a backing track I was initially disappointed. However, the multi-instrumentalist moved effortlessly between guitar, keyboards and Rhodes and a very accomplished stint on the bass (on the group Queen’s classic, “Another One Bites The Dust”) and that voice shone through and moved me! Brian McKnight is playful, flirts and teases the crowd. Most of all he is a “natural entertainer” who takes it beyond basic rapport to conversations with the audience and it is REAL! There’s a story to each of the 2000 (really?) self-penned songs since he started writing at the age of eighteen years. He tells us about his influences giving us snippets of Marvin, Prince, Stevie – “Overjoyed”!
He gets a girl up on stage and sings his wedding song – “There Could Never Be Another You” directly to her. He answers his tweets and continues this conversation by inviting those in the audience to choose their favourite and indulges five audiences members making them very happy with “Still in Love”. “Give Me Your Love” is one I did not know and within the first few bars of my first listen I’m hooked and it is now downloaded! I left the concert with a big smile on my face and an urge to download as much of his catalogue as possible (legally, of course!).
I should also mention a very accomplished singer, Divine Brown, who was in the support slot for the evening. She was wrapped up warm for a cold night even though she is from Toronto which can get much colder. She held a note on “Old School Love” to rival Patti or Regina Belle. A versatile vocalist and song writer with good material and definitely one to watch!
About the Writer
Terry Joe is a London-based has led bands as a vocalist, releasing cds and regularly performing. His favourite artists include Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Nathan Haines, Me'shell NdegeOcello and many more.