MUSIC – 1890-1930: Uncrowned Queens of Blues, Hot Jazz and Hokum from The Red Hot Rhythm Makers

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Photo: Ali Affleck

From New Orleans to Edinburgh: The amazing Red Hot Rhythm Makers [star rating =5/5]

THEY are an all-female band paying homage to those obscure queens that were once pioneers in the very early years of jazz, those difficult times where it was inconceivable for a woman to sing about displacement, hard love, alcohol and sex.

The RHRM started as a response to Ali Affleck’s previous show“Preaching divas”.The ensemble is fortuitous and each vibrates with a distinct and unique energy that when it blends together becomes a musical apotheosis.

Yesterday afternoon New Orleans sounds invaded the small Jazz Bar of Chambers Street.

Ali Affleck has one of those voices so versatile that it is easily transmuted into whatever she sings: cheeky on “Percolating blues” or resolute on “SomedayI’ll be gone”, there is nothing that can stop this three-time awarded musical machine that yesterday left us hungry for more.

They all sing and it is surprising to discover in just one hour the different sound each one has, a sensational experience tailored to every taste. Ali Todd on “Babyface” was my personal favorite. It was marvelous to see that they enjoyed each other the same way we did.  There was a natural chemistry on stage that I have seen little of in bands of these times.

It was a perfect atmosphere with red overhead lights, all the tables occupied and people standing at the bar.

All eyes were on the stage where these ladies talked about other times, where “percolating”, “shaking” and “mellow” had a naughty meaning.

Clara, Bessie, Mamie, Trixie, Memphis Minnie and many more were there among us, alive and kicking alongside these six queens of our century that will never let us forget them.