SUMMER REVERIE: JOSÉ JAMES & CAROLYN MALACHI AT FIGAT7TH

By LA CANVAS
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Matching the cool summer nights we’ve been having, FIGAT7TH’s final event of its Downtown Festival series ended with the cool sounds of two jazz-pop vocalists, the Grammy-nominated Carolyn Malachi and the multi-instrumentalist singer José James.

The crowd was as broad and diverse as the range of music covered, from hip hop to reggae, and of course plenty of jazz and R&B. Carolyn Malachi played a long but thoroughly enjoyable set—performing plenty of original, soulful songs mixed with various covers, including a jazzy yet dancey version of Crystal Waters’ Gypsy Woman, and a surprisingly smashing cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

 

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She ended her set with the crowd singing along with her to her version of Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam,” which stayed remarkably true to the original. By then, nighttime had fallen and José James was up next.

José stepped on stage wearing all black, accessorizing his look with pair of cool, dark shades. His jazzy image complemented his sound as he swooned his fans with his original, jazzy songs as well as a few covers. At times, he would fall into long improvised sessions with his band, with each player performing elaborate solos. The vibe was always lively as José interacted with the crowd. At one point he even chuckled his way out of finishing a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” Yep, the guys were having too much fun up there.

 

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The event then moved from the top floor plaza to the third level below. DJ Juice provided the bass-heavy soundtrack for the remainder of the night as the crowd ordered their drinks from the Sapporo bar.

Until next year, that’s it for FIGAT7TH’s Downtown Festival 2013.

 

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