Jazz doyenne, Salena Jones, will be celebrating 70 years in music with a show at London’s prestigious Purcell Room on Friday 28th September. For the American singer who has called Britain home for the last fifty years, it is fitting that one of the acknowledged great interpreters of song has chosen London to mark this notable anniversary, with a 22-piece orchestra conducted by her husband, renowned composer and arranger, Keith Mansfield.
Born Joan Shaw in Virginia, her family direct descendants of the Indian Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, Joan moved to New York at an early age, her precocious talent seeing her release 15 records by the time she was 15 years of age. Growing up around legendary musicians like Miles Davis, Stan Getz and Charlie Parker, she recorded demo tracks for artists such as Peggy Lee and Lena Horne, before emerging as a headline act with her own “Blues Express Orchestra”
Growing racial tensions led to a move to Europe in 1965 and saw her name-change to Salena Jones, with fans across the world recognising her, to quote her Asian fanbase, as “The Queen of Jazz and Blues”. Salena still holds the record for the longest residency at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, a remarkable seven weeks, and where she regularly still sells out.
Her career has spanned Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia; working with a who’s who of legends, from Louis Armstrong to Sarah Vaughan, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Salena has released 43 albums with another shortly due.
Salena Jones’ cool, relaxed phrasing and delivery is wonderfully free from artifice. At the lower end of the register, her voice is smoky and sensual. Not for her, though, vivacious displays of double-time gymnastics or virtuoso scat choruses; she is a storyteller who allows the lyrics to speak for themselves and although ballads are her strongest suit, she can swing with the very best.
Salena Jones is almost impossible to categorise; the attraction lies in the quality of her voice, pure and simple. She is totally comfortable in diverse styles that she makes her own: blues, jazz standards, pop, Latin, big band and orchestral are all in her repertoire with a little Aerosmith thrown in for good measure, and will be fully in evidence at the Purcell Room.
The Purcell Room concert is a not to be missed opportunity to see and hear one of the great singers of our times.
Saturday 14th/Sunday 15th September 2018 – Soho Jazz Club, Dean Street
Friday 28th September 2018 – Purcell Room, Southbank
Sunday 21st October 2018 – Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Soho
(December – tour of Japan)
Friday 18th January – Crazy Coqs, Zedel, Piccadilly
Friday 22nd/Saturday 23rd February – The Pheasantry, Chelsea