Lalah Hathaway Review
Encouraged, Empowered and effortlessly glam, the woman in Blue makes her way down the nerve-triggering staircase at London’s Jazz Café, for her most anticipated performance yet.
Having waited twenty years to grace this side of the ocean, Lalah Hathaway opened her show at London’s Jazz Café last month with her shoulder-shaking track “If you want to”, in true Yank party-starting style. The Detroit born vocalist, and daughter of the late musical great Donnie Hathaway, adorned a glitz pair of sling backs, and confirmed the expectations of those who know her well, by kicking them off her feet three-quarters of the way through the first track. When asked later on in an interview why she did this, Lalah explained, “It helps me feel more grounded. My toes do this thing, where they curl. I need to feel the ground beneath me.”
Proceeding forward, a bare-footed Lalah took us through the classics of Jazz, unveiling her modest musical credentials while scatting her way through the well-known track, Summertime, which ended in an X-Factor style call and response between the songstress and her mesmerized audience. Appearing grateful for the impressive turnout, Lalah would throw out the question ‘How y’all feeling?’ every once in a while, just to make sure we were all still with her.
We were taken on a musical journey, from her first self-entitled album, up until her debut entitled, “Where It All Begins”. Remaining cool and effortless- an evident working ethic throughout the evening, Ms H was ever in control of the rooms energy and had all eyes locked on her; a perfectly put-together opportunity for those who were willing, to bask in the essence of the Hathaway legacy.
Accompanied by the tasteful artistry of her band including memorable goodbyes from bassist, Eric ‘Pikfunk’ Smith, whose house-call solo compiled of snippets from some of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, and perfectly orchestrated backing vocals from US’s Jason Morales, and UK’s Sharlene Hector, the night was undeniably a musical moment to remember.
After an upbeat encore of “Street Life”, Lalah exited the stage leaving us longing for more. When asked to let me in on a quote or phrase that she attempts to live by, Lalah suggested ‘Say what you mean, and mean what you say’; an ethic demonstrated throughout her music lyrically, and by means of her meaningful melodies.
Written for MOBO by Karen-Grace Siriboe