Jeri Brown has a crystal-clear voice and an unerring feel for rhythm. Roddy Ellias is a master of the acoustic jazz guitar. Their 90-minute concert Saturday, June 26 at a mostly-full NAC Fourth Stage (despite strong competition at other stages) showed off their strengths, to strong applause from the audience.
Most of the concert consisted of standards (such as Misty) to which Brown adding scatting and her own dramatic phrasing, and Ellias added guitar improvisation. But the exceptions – for example, Joe Sealy's Afro Blue, and a samba with a downhome beat – were among the most interesting and compelling.
The concert also coincided with the release of their joint album: Jeri Brown and Roddy Ellias: Improvisations in Song: Live at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall in Montreal, which was recorded last year. Ellias just retired this spring from the music faculty at Concordia University in Montreal, while Brown remains a professor there.
– Alayne McGregor