Mainly playing tracks from her most recent album “Alterations” (2020), powerhouse vocalist and brilliant songwriter Robin McKelle stopped by in Berlin last night for the last show of her European leg (she will come back next month, see dates below). Since her latest is her most well-rounded and satisfying set to date, her show was a pleasure and pure joy to attend. She deserves much more recognition and success because there aren’t so many top singers and songwriters of her caliber around these days.
Robin sounded like a 70s Gladys Knight with her slighty raspy voice on her own “Simple Man”, a track from her 2018 album “Melodic Canvas”. She included Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and sounded much more secure and convincing than the original. Also, “Back To Black” to me worked much better with her interpretation than the original Amy Winehouse version. Her band was tight, funky, bluesy and grooving throughout the set. Mike King on piano and keys, Rashaan Carter on bass, and Adam Jackson on drums left Robin alone on stage for one of her showstoppers last night: she accompanied herself on piano for the Carole King classic “You’ve Got A Friend” and offered a beautifully tender and sweet moment.
Elsewhere, she put a deep funk groove underneath the Dolly Parton classic “Jolene”, came up with a bluesy “Mercedes-Benz”, the Janis Joplin classic, and also added a track or two from the Great American Songbook, like Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain”. She really excelled on her own, sumptuous “Head High” and really moved me with Joni Mitchell’s “River”.
Check out Robin on her next stops: 04/23 Boston – Scullers 05/06 Tournai – Jazz Festival 05/07 Stuttgart – BIX Jazzclub 05/10 Sarcelles – Salle André-Malraux 06/17-22 Etampes – Theatre Intercommunal d’Etampes