London Pizazz from bouncy French Singer Zaz, Live Review, Scala, Kings’s Cross, London, UK, June 12th 2013

Posted: June 24, 2013 in Ballad, Chanson Francaise, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Popular Music, Uncategorized
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Zaz Pizazz at Scala, London, UK June 12th 2013

Zaz Pizazz at Scala, London, UK June 12th 2013

Having chalked up from her first two albums, 10 top 5 places in 5 European countries including 5 No.1 spots, Mademoiselle Isabelle Geffroy, better known by the stage name of Zaz, had every reason to be smiling as she hit the London lights at the Scala venue in King’s Cross. Blending a variety of different styles in her set ranging from old “chanson Française” to folkish ska rhythms through to ballads and jazz fusions, 33 year old Zaz has had a steady rise since breaking through in France in 2010 picking up a European Border Breakers Award in 2011 along the way. She is now a well-known established European artist.
Since Zaz has not yet reached the mainstream of these shores and as she sings almost completely in French (with the odd Spanish language thrown in), you were left to wonder why London was a destination on the tour in the first place. Sure, there were a lot of french people, some of whom had queued for several hours to get the best places at the front in the 1000 capacity. But certainly there also a significant minority of English speakers.
Always smiling, Zaz, started with “Les Passants” (The Passers by), arranged in a light folk jazz fusion whose lyrics reflected upon the rush of everyday life , the passing of time and personal growth from this. In fact, the interpretation of free spirit is a theme that Zaz would return to a number of times in songs during the set, notably in her current single On ira (Let’s go) and best known track “Je veux”, (I want).
Also notable was her use of scatting during a number of songs such as Je Saute (I jump).
Slightly more poppy was “La Fée” where the band tried to work up the audience to sing vocal instrumental bit of the song to only limited success. There was a much better attempt at working the crowd into another number where Zaz got 3 sections of the audience to sing in melody. The bulging crowd did a lot of work that evening, one audience member even going so far as to translate the detailed synopsis Zaz gave her of the story behind Piaf song “Dan La Rue”. You couldn’t help thinking that the poor soul should have been on a commission rate. Still, it was needed. it was evident neither Zaz nor her band’s command of English was the best, in particular unwittingly mixing up the words joke and play.
Zaz was to perform another classic Piaf “La Vie en Rose” very competently with an up-tempo beat from the band as well as a very chilled-out cover of Jacques Cabrel’s “Petite Marie”.
The end of the show was wound up in a very lively fashion with Ni Oui Ni No (Neither Yes or No), a lot of jumping which only added to the sweltering humidity in the building and proper rock track “Auz Detenteurs”. Zaz was also to give an impromptu stint on the drums.
Zaz’s enthusiasm for the show was infectious and she was backed up by an excellent band. However , the sheer number of the crowd made the venue feel small and cramped. In addition, at times, particularly while doing the links to the songs in French, she struggled with the incessant crowd chatter which I personally found irritating . Next time, I see her it will have to be in a bigger venue or nothing but this lively charming singer definitely is worth seeing again.


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