Last updated on August 11th, 2023 at 12:31 pm
Standing inside the Belvedere tent at Crooners, Leslie Vincent seemed more apt to be singing surrounded by the wood interior of a traditional jazz supper club. Yet more fittingly, the missing tent walls symbolized the jazz singer’s ability to expand beyond a standard jazz show. And the night blended into the crowd and community, past the walls and out to Mars.
Vincent’s 90-minute set showcased her album release for About Last Night. Playing it cover to cover, Vincent spoke of her process of creating the album over the period of one year. And almost every song had its own story.
For example, Vincent discussed her love and nostalgia for musical theater before tracks like “If I Were a Bell” from the musical Guys and Dolls.; using Post-It notes for lyrics and a voice recorder for melody on her original track “Icetown Blues,” an ode to our extended Minnesota winters; and making new arrangements for tracks that have been recorded numerous times, like “Stars Fell on Alabama.”
With each song, the crowd held entrapped by every soulful word or moody expression. Vincent describes herself as “a moody one” (especially visible during “Black Coffee”), but she also frequently danced along with trumpet solos and bass lines. And the crowd enthusiastically clapped and cheered at the conclusion of each song, dancing in or around seats themselves.
At the conclusion of the album’s cover, Vincent and her band played a selection of jazzed-up favorites. She described almost reluctantly falling in love with the Beatles since “EVERYONE said you HAVE to like them” before playing a swing-filled version of “Norwegian Wood.” And her closing version of “Valerie” made me notice her actual likeness to Amy Winehouse. I later learned that Vincent performed Amy Winehouse tribute shows, and I felt like I was at one in that moment.
Leslie Vincent “loves jazz,” and she “has feelings and feels them strongly,” perhaps most emphatically expressed in a brief monologue before “How You Loved Me On Mars.” And this evening, she wanted these feelings expressed in not just her songs but also in art by local artists.
Vincent reached out to local artists to create works based on their interpretations of her songs. For example, Kristina Fjellman‘s piece All the Moons uses steel wire and fabric to express moon phases, inspired by “No Moon at All.” Griffin Buhman’s untitled piece was “less planned” and more “stream of conscious” and inspired by “Psychedelics With You.” These pieces and others were mentioned during the show and displayed in the tent for the audience to see.
About last night? It was a marvelous one to celebrate with Leslie Vincent and the community. Read our review of About Last Night to learn more about this fantastic record.
Side note: the staff, food, and overall atmosphere at Crooners were amazing. If you have not been there, I recommend you check them out for a show, perhaps if Leslie Vincent returns for her Christmas with the Champagne Drops show.