Haley, Keith and Courtney slaying some bossa-nova jazz
After her uneasy ride with Interscope Records mercifully ended two weeks ago, Kenny Poo has been hoping Haley would now turn her focus to the one true calling as an artist for which she's gifted above all others: Jazz singing.
Looks like my dream is now becoming a reality.
Last night at the Chandelier lounge in the swank new Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, Haley and her band mates Keith Phelps (keys) and Courtney Leonard (bass) began their three night residency gig. A super-fan by the internet username "Tusk" has become Haley's unofficial videographer, and is comprehensively recording the first two nights in HD quality. Thus far, he has uploaded two songs to YouTube, with many more to follow.
Fan reports on social media are indicating Haley heavily incorporated jazz into her show, and even included a full 25 minute jazz standard set in which she just brought the house down. One of the very best songs from that set is Song For My Father (see above). There ain't nobody more perfectly suited to sing sultry, sexy, silky bossa-nova jazz than Haley Reinhart, and as you can see she absolutely killed it.
The phrasing, the restraint, the instinctive finesse to know when to dial it up and tone it back down, the natural, seamless scatting and general "feel" for the flow of the song, and guiding it with deft aplomb... it's sheer poetry in motion to behold.
So, Haley, if you're reading this, Kenny Poo would like to request Girl From Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto. It's a must cover for you.
Not to be outdone, her pianist extraordinaire, Mr. Keith Phelps, demonstrated his incredible jazz chops with a magnificent solo that Haley herself can be seen getting lost in the trance of. Like Haley, Keith is versatile and can play a variety of music, but when it comes to jazz piano a very special light goes on that separates him from the field. In fact, Haley and Keith make such a perfect jazz team, I'd love to see them build a long term chemistry both live and in the recording studio.
Also noteworthy from the Vegas show is Haley's single Free, but it's nothing like the version she recorded on the album. Though I liked the original, this was far superior as Haley flipped the mid-tempo pop song with the tinny piano intro into a bluesy-jazz number with artistry. She also performed it like she really felt the conflicting emotions of a difficult, roller coaster relationship coming to an end rather than being forced to portray the vampy, campy temptress like Interscope prescribed. For the first time I truly believed Free was HER song, not the label force feeding her a hand-picked track. It was authentic, and I loved it.
Free from Interscope, Haley makes Free her own
So, let's raise our glasses of scotch (or Jack and Coke if you're Haley) and toast cheers to Haley as she begins her jazz journey. We've all seen how brilliant she's been when taking on jazz during her run on Idol, and after the show with Irvin Mayfield Jr, and now we can excitedly watch the little jazz prodigy actualize her destiny. I see nothing but sweet jazz labels and Grammys awaiting on the horizon.