Avery Sunshine & Anthony David

Live at the Jazz Cafe, London 4th November 2010

* “On with dance, let joy be unconfined, is my motto; whether there’s any dance to dance or any joy to unconfined.” Mark Twain

PART ONE:

The gig should have been billed as ‘Atlanta’s Anthony & Avery: The A-team Come to Town.’ This tag team complimented each other so perfectly. Put all the clichés you want together: Ying & yang, hand & glove, rhubarb & custard or even grits & gravy! By the close of the evening it was glaringly obvious that the common denominator between these two Atlanta based artists is their supreme and captivating vocal ability. UK Vibe’s Michael ‘The Dood’ Edwards was one of those whose life was enriched by witnessing ‘live’ two genuine classy and engaging purveyors of ‘real’ Soul music.


Picture courtesy of Jite Ugono. www.pics-elate.com

First to enthral the sold out Jazz Cafe was the bubbly, buoyant and beautiful Ms Avery Sunshine. Having joyously twinkled onto the stage and taken her seat behind her Motif keyboard, Avery sent down her initial ray of sunshine – the jaunty and up tempo first single, ‘I Got Sunshine’ From the moment she opened her mouth whilst jigging to the rhythm on her stool, the whole audience were vicariously infected by the positive vibes emitted.

Avery instantly got the audience involved, instinctively employing her skills as a Choir Director to full effect by orchestrating those in attendance to sing- a- long. Ms Sunshine’s first ever set at the Jazz Cafe continued, rolling smoothly into the emotive and fans favourite ‘Ugly Part of Me.’ She gave a brief soliloquy beforehand explaining how women (and men) can sometimes vehemently chastise

their partner for no apparent reason and then on reflection realise how insensitive and cutting they were at that moment. Hence, the ‘Ugly Part of Me.’ The apology is sublimely and soulfully delivered.

There was no disguising Avery’s blatant vocal prowess now, showing why she is being described as an artist in the mould of Jill Scott and even compared to the Queen of Soul and Gospel Aretha Franklin. Praise Indeed. What I think individualises Avery Sunshine is her presence at and skill on the keyboard. Best description this scribe can give is that she reminds me of a female version of Donny Hathaway or Stevie Wonder.


Picture courtesy of Jite Ugono. www.pics-elate.com

The audience were now so engrossed and under Ms Sunshine’s musical spell, most forgot Grammy Award Nominee Anthony David was still to follow!! On she went transitioning into her own personal favourite track from her self- titled debut album, ‘Pinin’. Yet another deeply emotional tune about reminiscing over a love lost. Aside from absorbing those powerful Jazz-Go-Soul vocals (Jazz/Gospel/Soul) once again, this number gave those gathered in this intimate venue a chance to see on acoustic guitar the rock and guiding force behind Avery Sunshine, musician, album co-writer, producer and musical partner Dana Johnson.

Renowned for his work on India Arie’s voyage to India CD, Avery has been quoted as saying that, ‘Without Dana Johnson, there would be no Avery Sunshine’. Together and with a little help from their friends they proceeded to entertain us in the manner in which we had now become accustomed, seamlessly segueing into Gladys Knight’s, ‘Mignight Train to Georgia’ and back again to her own ‘Pinin’ on the same rhythm – gorgeous!


Picture courtesy of Jite Ugono. www.pics-elate.com

With the party jumping Avery made time to pay homage to Jill Scott by laying down her own funky and sassy version of the aforementioned ‘He Loves Me.’ Before this ray of sunshine departed the stage she pounded out the riffs to another new but strangely familiar album track, ‘All in My Head.’ The lyrics of which again showcased the synergy of the Sunshine/Johnson writing combo. The familiarity factor become evident when once again Avery glided effortlessly into yet another Soul diva classic, Anita Baker’s ‘Sweet Love’ But oh! She does it SO well!!

The lady even had the audacity to request we take out our respective networking devices and look her up on Myspace and Facebook. As if her performance wasn’t sufficient enough to send us surfing the net far and wide to garner the tiniest morsel of info on this Atlanta Princess. What a self-assured self promoter! Mark Twain once quoted: *‘…let joy be unconfined..!’ Avery Sunshine is most definitely an unconfined bundle of joy. Go catch some sun-rays, it’ll do you good!


Avery Sunshine and Michael ‘The Dood’ Edwards

Michael ‘The Dood’ Edwards

Essential Album:
Avery Sunshine (2010)

Essential Single:
I Got Sunshine b/w Ugly Part of Me (2010)

Essential Websites:
www.averysunshine.com
www.twitter.com/averysunshine.com
www.facebook.com/averysunshine
www.youtube.com/bigshinetv

PART TWO

The gig should have been billed as ‘Atlanta’s Anthony & Avery: The A-team Come to Town.’ This tag team complimented each other so perfectly. Put all the clichés you want together: Ying & yang, hand & glove, rhubarb & custard or even grits & gravy! By the close of the evening it was glaringly obvious that the common denominator between these two Atlanta based artists is their supreme and captivating vocal ability. UK Vibe’s Michael ‘The Dood’ Edwards was one of those whose life was enriched by witnessing ‘live’ two genuine classy and engaging purveyors of ‘real’ Soul music.


Photo courtesy of Jite Ugono www.pics-elate.co.uk

Prior to Grammy Award Nominee Anthony David taking to the stage an audio sound bite of President Obama was played responding to what music he’s currently listening to on his iPod quoting, ‘…I just heard this CD by Anthony David, who’s an R&B guy — I put him on there. That’s brand new, so I’m kind of enjoying that a lot now…’ With the Jazz cafe massive whopping in agreement to the Presidential stamp of approval for the Georgia native, Mr Acey Duecy himself descended the stairs stage right dressed in black leather jacket, white shirt, red tie and fawn coloured trousers and glasses.

The band slipped straight into the bumping Stop Playin’ from his sophomore album on Dome Records, ‘The Red Clay Chronicles.’ From there on in the subtle writing style and uniquely soothing velvety delivery of David’s vocal was in full evidence. Not surprising then why his singing voice has been likened to Bill Withers. Next came the first of two covers during the evening, Level 42’s ‘Something About You’ also from The Red Clay Chronicles, given the A.D twist. To aid him in performing the swaying and finger popping duet ‘4evermore’ from the yet to be released ‘As Above, So Below’ project, he summoned the illuminating Avery Sunshine, who had mesmerised us all earlier, back to the stage. Does it get any better than this! What chemistry and charisma they both have.


Photo courtesy of Jite Ugono www.pics-elate.co.uk

The Atlanta Soul Session as Anthony David dubbed the evening was definitely in full flow. After thanking Ms Sunshine for her assistance, he then plundered his debut album release, ‘3 chords & the Truth’ for tracks such as ‘Cheatin’ Man,’ ‘Spittin’ Game,’ ‘Part of My Life’ (the tune he initially wrote solely for India Arie’s 7 x nominated ‘Acoustic Soul’ CD but decided on doing his own version also), ‘GA Peach’ and crowd pleaser, the laid back slow burner ‘Cold Turkey.’ By this time he had his three chord guitar wrapped around his neck and the Anthony David stage persona was complete.


Photo courtesy of Jite Ugono www.pics-elate.co.uk

The set then moved into highlighting more tracks from his forth-coming 2011 album release, ‘As Above, So Below.’ If ‘Let Me In,’ the infectious lead single and ‘God said’ are evidence of the quality we can expect, then roll on 2011!! Mr David continued with the musical goodness, holding the audiences’ attention with a deep down dirty and raw version of ‘Smoke One.’ Big shout out to the band at this juncture, they were tight and on point throughout both sets.

Anthony David has made no secret that he enjoys covering tracks he really admires, purely out of respect. On this night having already welcomed Level 42’s ‘something About You,’ we were now treated to David’s superb and ear friendly version of Drake’s ‘Find Your Love,’ the crowd once again instinctively singing along.

And no sooner had the Atlanta Soul Session begun, it was all over, but not before Anthony David signed off with a stripped down acoustic freestyle ditty featuring himself, his guitar and the microphone. This man definitely needs to record a purely acoustic album to put the spotlight on THAT voice. Fortunately, during a chat I had with him earlier that day he divulged that owing to public demand such an album is imminent! God is great!

As he unhooked his guitar from around his neck I do believe any true Soul lover present in the Jazz Cafe that evening were fully aware and appreciative of the stupendous evening of quality musicianship and singing or should that be sangin’ they had just witnessed. It was definitely a night to remember.

Michael ‘The Dood’ Edwards

Essential Albums:
The Set Up: AD live unplugged
As Above, So Below: UK release Feb 2011
Acey Ducey: 2008
The Red Clay Chronicles: 2006
3 Chords & the Truth: 2004

Essential Websites:
http://www.anthonydavidmusic.com
http://www.myspace.com/anthonydavid
http://www.domerecords.co.uk

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