by Edith Cody-Rice
I attended my first JazzNhouse concert last evening, with no intention of reviewing the performance for the Millstone. It was simply a night out with friends, but I was so blown away by the Rebecca Noelle Trio, that I felt I had to post a review. It was a wonderful evening, entirely worthy of the National Arts Centre, but here in Almonte we had that fabulous concert catering to a group of about 30 people in the lovely 1862 stone home of Alex and Elizabeth Gillis.
Part of the charm of the evening is that guests bring nibblies and drinks to share, but the concert itself was stellar. The Rebecca Noelle Trio performed for us in the living room of the Gillis home, incorporating the Gillis piano into the ensemble. The pianist, Francois Gravel is an accomplished jazz performer and delighted us with piano riffs and variations. He was accompanied by Ken Seeley on a 6-string electric base. Rebecca Noelle gave credit to her colleagues and allowed them to show their talent but she is herself a beautiful and sensual vocalist with a strong melodic voice and a three-octave range. She appeared in a form-fitting sequined dress which made the evening feel special before she even opened her mouth.
The concert was a visual and auditory delight. The trio performed two sets with a mixture of standards: Love for Sale, Summertime, and a few of Rebecca’s own creations.
Rebecca interspersed her singing with tales of her start in jazz performing with her pianist grandfather and performing for the Canadian Armed Forces in Alert, Nunavut and in Kuwait but it was her voice that starred last evening. She has a remarkable voice with emotional phrasing and a great range complemented by a strong stage presence that could dominate a much larger venue.
Rebecca’s new CD “Soulstice” is due for release before the end of 2016.