Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jonatha Brooke – Live In New York

Jonatha Brooke – Live In New York

Sometimes it’s hard to write about people you truly admire. For me, Jonatha Brooke is one such person. I have been a fan of her music since the release of her first solo album, Plumb, in 1995 and having seen her perform live this past year, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Live In New York. Listening to Live In New York is very, very close to the personal and intimate experience of seeing Jonatha Brooke perform live in person.

Live In New York showcases Jonatha playing both alone and with an amazing band at the Anspacher, part of Public Theatre in New York. The album is also available in a two disc set which contains a DVD of the performance, and in watching the show as well as listening to it, the setting seems to lend itself to capturing a performance that is at times both delicate and roaring.

The song selection for Live In New York spans Jonatha Brooke’s entire musical career; from Love Is More Thicker Than Forget all the way through No Net Below. The performances contained on Live In New York are all outstanding, full of energy, emotion and life. Alone, Jonatha turns in a haunting rendition of Deny as well as a delicate and wistful version of No Net Below as the albums closing piece. Her performances with the band; made up of Darren Embry on Bass and vocals, Rich Mercurio on Drums, Geoffrey Moore on Guitar and Ann Marie Milazzo on just about everything you can think of as well as background vocals, are full and powerful as evident on the tracks Linger and Steady Pull.

One of the highlights of the show for me is finally getting to hear a live version of the song Inconsolable from Jonatha’s album Plumb. Beyond being a great song, the end of the studio recording of Inconsolable is a piece of contained madness that reaches just over the edge of falling apart and then manages to pull itself back. While the version on Live In New York is not an exact copy of this, the inspired solo given by Geoffrey Moore is, in itself, also a piece of contained madness that manages to be almost out of control and then recovers, making it an experience in and of itself to hear.

Both the audio and video versions of Live In New York are outstanding examples of what Jonatha Brooke is capable of as a performer and a writer. If you haven’t been able to see her live, you should…trust me it’s worth it. Until you can though, pick up a copy of Live in New York to see what your missing.

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