Jazzfest review: Judith Hill and her funky family open it on a positive note

Judith Hill

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

Main stage, Marion Dewar Plaza

Reviewed Friday

Judith Hill is understood for her beautiful voice, however on the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival on opening night time, the L.A. singer-songwriter additionally demonstrated the breadth of her funk pedigree with a band that included each her dad and mom.

It’s secure to say her dad and mom are funkier than most. Her father, bassist Robert “Pee Wee” Hill, met her mom, the Tokyo-born, classically educated pianist Michiko Hill, whereas enjoying in a band collectively within the ’70s. That band? Sly and the Family Stone. They additionally ran a studio when Judith was rising up.

Now Dad offers the rhythm-shaking spine of their gifted daughter’s band, and Mom dazzles with a full spectrum of groovy organ sounds. Drummer Michael White, guitarist Greg Moore and a pair of backup singers rounded out the lineup.

As for Judith, the previous backup singer to the celebs was undoubtedly in control of her personal stage. “Hope you got your dancing shoes on,” she declared earlier than tearing into a high-energy authentic, As Trains Go By, from her Prince-produced solo debut album. “I might as well be famous since I ain’t gonna be white,” she sang, considered one of her finest traces from an album filled with nice songs.

In addition to being a terrific songwriter with a voice that would cease site visitors, Judith can be a formidable instrumentalist with a imply hand on electrical guitar and apparent chops on piano. What’s extra, strutting the stage in her ultra-flared pants and a crop high, the 35-year-old was a livewire entertainer, too, who unfold a message of positivity with her hard-hitting mix of funk, rock, soul, gospel and a wholesome dollop of disco.

“There’s so much goin’ on in the world, it’s important (that) we as people know how to celebrate, know how to dance, know how to smile,” she stated at one level. With songs like Gypsy Lover, You Can’t Blame Me (together with a snippet of Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, Queen of the Hill and Jammin within the Basement, her music was the right soundtrack for the celebration.

On a lovely and breezy first night time of summer season, in entrance of a good-sized crowd on the plaza of Ottawa City Hall, Judith additionally made a level of remarking on the feel-good power of the night time, recalling the identical spark she felt on her first go to to the nation’s capital a few years again.

“The energy of this city is electrifying,” she stated, reflecting on all that has occurred in her life since then. The lack of her buddy and mentor, Prince, gave the impression to be high of thoughts as she closed out the present with a hovering, gospel-informed model of Here I Am.

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