Some people were just born to perform and entertain. Avery Sunshine is an amazing singer, songwriter and the kind of performer that you really do not want to take your eyes off of. She tells the story of the song with her eyes, her facial expressions; her whole body moves as she grooves at her keyboards and then there’s that VOICE. She commands attention with her presence and she is warm with her audience. She has the gospel power, but knows when control and subtlety is required and most of all, clearly knows her soul music. From the opener of the evening, “I’ve Got Sunshine”, it was clear that she was ready. I spent my time beaming and grinning with the excitement one has when they know they are witnessing something truly special. This is the very first gig that I have been to where an artist phones her mum, excitedly, to tell her that she is at the Jazz Cafe. The crowd says hello to her mum and she responds with a little help of the loudspeaker button and a microphone – inspired and touching! The next few songs signal the mood that Avery is keen to set for her next “Baby Daddy” and she treats us to covers of “Lady” – D’Angelo, which shifts effortlessly into “Outstanding” and Jill Scott’s “He Loves Me”. She takes some time to introduce her London-based band and then leads us into two original tracks “Like This” and “Pinin’”. It is interesting that “Pinin’” segues into “Midnight Train to Georgia” as merely seconds before, I was thinking that she had the presence, expressiveness and storytelling ability of Gladys Knight. Avery is worried that she has to hurry, but Anthony David is watching from the balcony and assures her that she has plenty of time and the audience clearly want her to continue. Like many US artists, Avery has roots in the church, loves God, loves her Mum and loves Love and Loving. She treats us to a rendition of “The Lord is My Shepherd”, which really does give me shivers and “He Keeps Doing Great Things”. The next track is one of my favourites from her CD “Ugly Part of Me” and she concludes the evening with “All In My Head” which segues into “Sweet Love” and a nod to Anita Baker. Avery Sunshine is a scorching talent, who would please many in the Jazz Cafe with second helpings in 2011 – headlining! She is more than ready. A more than accomplished opening set – indeed a revelation! The Jazz Cafe crowd is definitely warmed up for Anthony David...
Anthony David starts his set with a reworked version of Estelle’s “American Boy” and as well as singing, gives us some laid back, cool rapping as well. A cover of one of my favourite songs, Level 42’s “Something About You” then follows and Avery is back on stage for a duet on “4ever More” the current single. I’m struck by the lyrics: “Forever is a Mighty Long Time I really Wanna Spend It With You I Shine When You Shine There Really Is No Substitute” Beautifully Romantic! Anthony gives us his thoughts on how people sometimes choose to interpret things in life with “I’m Doing What God Said”. “Let Me In” is a new song and is followed by an acoustic version of an old song “Part Of My Life” and the audience clearly know his and India Arie’s version and join in on the chorus.
The band is back on the stage and he gives us an extended bluesy intro to “Cold Turkey” from his first CD and provides one of those moments that only a live performance can bring and the audience are clearly appreciative. There’s a cover of Drake’s “Find Your Love” and another highlight with a song called “Backstreet” with one hell of a message for....well everyone! If you really listen to the words, I defy you not to be moved!! The kind of song I really want to play to the House of Commons as the coalition government continues to make cuts that will impact so much more on the poor. Anthony David is a great songwriter, singer and coolly able to keep his audience fully engaged. Michelle Obama (who has become a fan) is clearly a woman of great taste. Thank you Dome Records for a very special evening. The Atlanta Soul Sessions was an evening of quality soul and you made this reviewer very happy.
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.